AML is the most common blood cancer in adults with a high relapse and an overall poor survival rate. NK cells have been demonstrated to have the capacity to eradicate AML blast, and an impaired NK cell function is involved in AML development and progression. Immune checkpoints are involved in immune escape in various cancers. Immune checkpoints blockade therapy mainly aimed to unleash CD8T cells function, but NK cells have emerged as new target. However, immune checkpoints profile on NK cells has not been observed in AML patients. Here, we studied the immune checkpoints expression of NK cells from AML patients at initial diagnosis and found increased PD-1, TIGIT and TIM-3 expression compared to NK cells from healthy donors. Further analysis showed that TIGIT expressing NK cells from AML patients had a dysfunctional phenotype, as TIGITNK cells exhibit lower antileukemia effect, cytokine production and degranulation compared to TIGITNK cells. TIGIT blockade could significantly enhance the function of NK cells. Moreover, AML patients with high frequency of TIGITNK cells had higher frequency of poor prognosis risk. Further analysis found that IL-10 upregulated TIGIT expression on NK cells. Thus, TIGIT blockade alone or in combination with other therapy might be potential strategy to treat AML.
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