The Neutrophil: The Underdog That Packs a Punch in the Fight against Cancer

Onderzoeksoutputpeer review

21 Citaten (Scopus)
298 Downloads (Pure)


The advent of immunotherapy has had a major impact on the outcome and overall survival in many types of cancer. Current immunotherapeutic strategies typically aim to (re)activate anticancer T cell immunity, although the targeting of macrophage-mediated anticancer innate immunity has also emerged in recent years. Neutrophils, although comprising approximate to 60% of all white blood cells in the circulation, are still largely overlooked in this respect. Nevertheless, neutrophils have evident anticancer activity and can induce phagocytosis, trogocytosis, as well as the direct cytotoxic elimination of cancer cells. Furthermore, therapeutic tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies trigger anticancer immune responses through all innate Fc-receptor expressing cells, including neutrophils. Indeed, the depletion of neutrophils strongly reduced the efficacy of monoclonal antibody treatment and increased tumor progression in various preclinical studies. In addition, the infusion of neutrophils in murine cancer models reduced tumor progression. However, evidence on the anticancer effects of neutrophils is fragmentary and mostly obtained in in vitro assays or murine models with reports on anticancer neutrophil activity in humans lagging behind. In this review, we aim to give an overview of the available knowledge of anticancer activity by neutrophils. Furthermore, we will describe strategies being explored for the therapeutic activation of anticancer neutrophil activity.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1-34
Aantal pagina's34
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Nummer van het tijdschrift21
StatusPublished - 1-nov.-2020


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