Innate lymphoid cells (ILC) are responsible for mucosal tissue homeostasis and are involved in the progression and suppression of several types of cancer. However, the effects of ILCs on colorectal cancer are poorly understood. We characterized human ILCs in normal colon and colorectal cancer tissue, investigating their role in the tumor immune microenvironment. Normal mucosa and tumor tissues were obtained from patients with colorectal cancer, and the cells were isolated by enzymatic digestion. NKp44+ ILC3s with high expression of tertiary lymphoid structure (TLS) formation-related genes, including LTA, LTB, and TNF, accumulated in the normal colonic mucosa and T1/T2 tumors. However, the number of NKp44+ILC3s was significantly reduced in T3/T4 tumors compared with normal colonic mucosa and T1/T2 tumors. NKp44+ILC3s present in T3/T4 tumors had decreased expression of TLS formation-related genes, whereas stromal cells had decreased expression of CXCL13, CCL19, and CCL21. The decreasing number of NKp44+ILC3s during tumor progression correlated with the TLS density in tumors. Thus, our results indicate that NKp44+ILC3s infiltrate colorectal cancer tissue, but the number of cells decreases in T3/T4 tumors with associated decreases in TLS induction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research