MYC regulates the antitumor immune response through CD47 and PD-L1

Stephanie C. Casey, Ling Tong, Yulin Li, Rachel Do, Susanne Walz, Kelly N. Fitzgerald, Arvin M. Gouw, Virginie Baylot, Ines Gütgemann, Martin Eilers, Dean W. Felsher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

936 Scopus citations


The MYC oncogene codes for a transcription factor that is overexpressed in many human cancers. Here we show that MYC regulates the expression of two immune checkpoint proteins on the tumor cell surface: the innate immune regulator CD47 (cluster of differentiation 47) and the adaptive immune checkpoint PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1). Suppression of MYC in mouse tumors and human tumor cells caused a reduction in the levels of CD47 and PD-L1 messenger RNA and protein. MYC was found to bind directly to the promoters of the Cd47 and Pd-11 genes. MYC inactivation in mouse tumors down-regulated CD47 and PD-L1 expression and enhanced the antitumor immune response. In contrast, when MYC was inactivated in tumors with enforced expression of CD47 or PD-L1, the immune response was suppressed, and tumors continued to grow. Thus, MYC appears to initiate and maintain tumorigenesis, in part, through the modulation of immune regulatory molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
Issue number6282
StatePublished - Apr 8 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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