Tumor-induced immunosuppression is a common obstacle for cancer treatment. Adrenergic signaling triggered by chronic stress participates in the creation of an immunosuppressive microenvironment by promoting myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) proliferation and activation. In this issue of the JCI, Mohammadpour et al. elegantly delve into the mechanisms underlying MDSC contribution to tumor development. They used in vitro and in vivo mouse models to demonstrate that chronic stress results in MDSC accumulation, survival, and immune-inhibitory activity. Of therapeutic relevance, the authors showed that propranolol, a commonly prescribed β-blocker, can reduce MDSC immunosuppression and enhance the effect of other cancer therapies.
Ignacio Iñigo-Marco, Marta M. Alonso
Schematic representation of adrenergic stress upon MDSC physiology.