Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Immunotherapy is a groundbreaking advancement in cancer treatment, as evidenced by the success of immune checkpoint blockers, which primarily target T lymphocytes. Recognizing that a significant proportion of tumors do not respond to current treatments, we have embarked on an investigation into the roles of other immune cells—neutrophils. Indeed, their accumulation within patients’ tumors correlates with a negative clinical prognosis. Despite clinical indications of their significance, the biology and function of neutrophils in cancer patients remain inadequately explored.
For more than 7 years, we have compared the presence, transcriptome and function of tumor-associated neutrophils and blood neutrophils. In the blood, we compare classical neutrophils (most abundant circulating neutrophils), and low-density neutrophils. We perform transcriptome analyses and test in vitro the suppressive activity of each neutrophil sample. We mainly analyze samples of lung cancer patients. We are member of the European COST Action MyeInfoBank, which aims to validate molecular signatures associated with myeloid regulatory cells.
Our overarching objective is to identify novel neutrophil targets for cancer immunotherapy. Since targeting all neutrophils is impractical, we aim to identify specific markers of immunosuppressive neutrophils and/or uncover the mechanisms used by neutrophils to mediate T-cell suppression.