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Age related defects in NK cell immunity revealed by deep immune profiling of pediatric cancer patients

By Eleni Syrimi, Naeem Khan, Paul Murray, Carrie Willcox, Tracey Haigh, Benjamin Willcox, Navta Masand, Jianmin Zuo, Sierra M. Barone, Jonathan M. Irish, Pamela Kearns, Graham S Taylor

Posted 10 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.09.983288

Systemic immunity plays an important role in cancer immune surveillance and therapy but there is little detailed knowledge about the immune status of healthy children or children with cancer. We performed a high dimensional single cell analysis of systemic immunity in pediatric cancer patients and age-matched healthy children. In young children with cancer (age < 8years) NK cells were decreased in frequency, maturity, expression of perforin and granzyme-B, and were less cytotoxic in ex vivo assays. NK cell activity was restored after in vitro culture with interleukin-2. In contrast, older children with cancer (>8 years old) had decreased naive CD4 and CD8 T-cells with concomitant increases in effector memory and T effector memory RA-revertant (TEMRA) T-cells. These immunological changes in pediatric cancer patients are relevant to the better understanding of how cancers diagnosed in childhood interact with systemic immunity and could inform the development and application of effective immune-modulating therapies in the pediatric population. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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