Brain cancer potentially resists immunotherapies by trapping T cells in bone marrow

IMAGE: The level of the T-cell surface protein S1P1 reduced in brain tumor patients, leading to relative increase in T-cell numbers in the bone marrow. view more 

Credit: Osaka University

Osaka, Japan – Certain brain cancers are associated with low numbers of immune system T-cells circulating in the peripheral blood. Low T-cell numbers can be a side-effect of cancer treatment. But it now appears that there is more to the story of these missing T-cells.

Researchers from multiple institutions, including Osaka University, have now revealed how brain cancers escape detection by the immune system by inhibiting the proper functioning of T-cells. The researchers revealed the high concentrations of T-cells trapped in bone marrow and propose the strategy by which cancers sequester these cells. They recently published their findings in Nature Medicine.

The researchers reviewed imaging results and blood tests of patients with brain cancer and confirmed that these patients had low T-cell levels, compared to controls, even prior to being treated. The patients also had contracted spleens, indicating the T-cells were not hiding there. The same results were seen in mice. Remarkably, analysis of mouse bone marrow revealed a large expansion in T-cell numbers.

“When we examined the bone


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