Dysfunction and abnormal differentiation of immune cells and hematopoietic precursors are well described in patients with cancer, although the role of transcription factors in these defects is not well established. Here, we evaluated expression of C/EBPa, PU.1 and BACH1 transcription factors in lymphoid and myeloid cells, including NK cells, T cells, neutrophils and monocytes, isolated from healthy donors and cancer patients. The results revealed a significant suppression of transcription factors participating in the development of immune cells in patients with cancer. Analysis of expression of transcription factors in CD34+CD45dim hematopoietic precursors showed that in contrast to the downregulation of transcription factor in mature peripheral blood immune cells, expression of these regulators in stem/precursor cells was significantly increased in patients with lung cancer, especially in patients with detectable metastases. These results open a new opportunity to test whether altered transcriptional regulation of mature immune cells in cancer may be intrinsically related to abnormal functioning of transcription factors in early hematopoiesis or occurs independently via direct effects of tumor-derived factors on circulating immune cells.
NK cells, T cells, neutrophils, monocytes, C/EBPα, BACH1, PU.1