Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are important regulators of immune responses in cancer. They represent a relatively stable form of pathologic activation of neutrophils and monocytes and are characterized by distinct transcriptional, biochemical, functional, and phenotypical features. The close association of MDSCs with clinical outcomes in cancer suggests that these cells can be an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. However, the complex nature of MDSC biology represents a substantial challenge for the development of selective therapies. Here, we discuss the mechanisms regulating MDSC development and fate and recent research advances that have demonstrated opportunities for therapeutic regulation of these cells.
MDSCs are attractive therapeutic targets because of their close association with negative clinical outcomes in cancer and established biology as potent immunosuppressive cells. However, the complex nature of MDSC biology presents a substantial challenge for therapeutic targeting. In this review, we discuss those challenges and possible solutions.