VISTA is highly expressed on MDSCs and mediates an inhibition of T cell response in patients with AML

Liru Wang, Bei Jia, David F. Claxton, W. Christopher Ehmann, Witold B. Rybka, Shin Mineishi, Seema Naik, Muhammad R. Khawaja, Jeff Sivik, Junyan Han, Raymond J. Hohl, Hong Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains challenging. Enhancement of anti-tumor responses by blocking negative immune regulators is a promising strategy for novel effective leukemia therapeutics. V-domain Ig suppressor of T-cell activation (VISTA) is a recently defined negative regulator mediating immune evasion in cancer. To investigate the effect of VISTA on anti-leukemia immune response in AML, we initiated a study using clinical samples collected from AML patients. Here we report that VISTA is highly expressed on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the peripheral blood of AML patients. Both the frequency and intensity of VISTA expression on MDSCs are significantly higher in newly diagnosed AML than in healthy controls. Importantly knockdown of VISTA by specific siRNA potently reduced the MDSCs-mediated inhibition of CD8 T cell activity in AML, suggesting a suppressive effect of VISTA on anti-leukemia T cell response. Furthermore, we observed a strong positive association between MDSC expression of VISTA and T cell expression of PD-1 in AML. These results support the strategy of VISTA-targeted treatment for AML and underscore the strong potential for combined blockade of VISTA and PD-1 pathways in effective leukemia control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1469594
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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