Transforming Growth Factor-Beta1 and Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Interplay in Cancer

Juan F. Santibanez1, 2, *, Suncica Bjelica1
1 Molecular Oncology group, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
2 Centro Integrativo de Biología y Química Aplicada (CIBQA), Universidad Bernardo O’Higgins, General Gana 1780, Santiago 8370854, Chile

© 2017 Santibanez and Bjelica.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Molecular oncology group, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Dr Subotica 4, POB 102, 11129 Belgrade, Serbia; Tel: 381112685788; Fax: 381112643691; E-mail:



Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) is a pleiotropic cytokine with a double role in cancer through its capacity to inhibit early stages of tumors while enhancing tumor progression at late stages of tumor progression. Moreover, TGF-β1 is a potent immunosuppressive cytokine within the tumor microenvironment that allows cancer cells to escape from immune surveillance, which largely contributes to the tumor progression.


It has been established that the cancer progression is commonly associated with increased number of Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) that are a hallmark of cancer and a key mechanism of immune evasion.


MDSC represent a population of heterogeneous myeloid cells comprised of macrophages, granulocytes and dendritic cells at immature stages of development. MDSC promote tumor progression by regulating immune responses as well as tumor angiogenesis and cancer metastasis.


In this review, we present an overview of the main key functions of both TGF-β1 and MDSC in cancer and in the immune system. Furthermore, the mutual contribution between TGF-β1 and MDSC in the regulation of immune system and cancer development will be analyzed.

Keywords: Transforming growth factor-beta1, TGF-β1, Myeloid-derived suppressor cells, MDSC, Immunosuppression, Cancer.