Eosinophilic granulocytes and damage-associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs): Role in the inflammatory response within tumors

Ramin Lotfi, James J. Lee, Michael T. Lotze

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The development of a tumor over many years typically leads to reciprocal alternations in the host and the tumor, enabling tumor growth paradoxically in the setting of substantial necrosis and inflammation. When evaluating a tumor, it is important to assess 3 elements: (1) the quantity and quality of tumor-associated leukocytes, (2) their state of activation, and (3) tumor microenvironment. Peripheral blood eosinophilia and tumor-associated tissue eosinophilia are frequently associated with some tumor types and also found after immunotherapy with IL-2, IL-4, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and antibody to CTLA-4. Within several tumor types including gastrointestinal tumors, tumor-associated tissue eosinophilia is associated with a significantly better prognosis. The converse is true in other tumor types such as differentiated oral squamous cell carcinoma. On the basis of the emergent data, tumor-associated eosinophils have at least 2 dominant nonoverlapping activities: (1) destructive effector functions potentially limiting tumor growth as well as causing recruitment and activation of other leukocytes, (2) immunoregulative and remodeling activities which suppress immune response and promote tumor proliferation. The mechanism by which eosinophils in particular are recruited into tumor tissue is largely unknown. Candidates for causing eosinophil chemotaxis into tumor tissue are the released damage-associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs) including the nuclear protein high mobility group box 1. High mobility group box 1 is released upon necrotic cell death and secreted by many cells, particularly during periods of nutrient, hypoxic, or oxidant stress. This overview on eosinophil biology in the context of cancer and necrosis, introduces intriguing and novel strategies targeting eosinophils to enable more effective biologic therapy for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Damage-associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs)
  • Eosinophils
  • Gastrointestinal tumors
  • High-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1)
  • Immunotherapy of cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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