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Interleukin-25 (IL-25) and group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) defend the host against intestinal helminth infection and are associated with inappropriate allergic reactions. IL-33–activated ILC2s were previously found to augment protective tissue-specific pancreatic cancer immunity. Here, we showed that intestinal IL-25–activated ILC2s created an innate cancer-permissive microenvironment. Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with higher tumor IL25 expression had reduced survival and increased IL-25R–expressing tumor-resident ILC2s and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) associated with impaired antitumor responses. Ablation of IL-25 signaling reduced tumors, virtually doubling life expectancy in an Apc mutation–driven model of spontaneous intestinal tumorigenesis. Mechanistically, IL-25 promoted intratumoral ILC2s, which sustained tumor-infiltrating MDSCs to suppress antitumor immunity. Therapeutic antibody-mediated blockade of IL-25 signaling decreased intratumoral ILC2s, MDSCs, and adenoma/adenocarcinoma while increasing antitumor adaptive T cell and interferon-γ (IFN-γ)–mediated immunity. Thus, the roles of innate epithelium-derived cytokines IL-25 and IL-33 as well as ILC2s in cancer cannot be generalized. The protumoral nature of the IL-25–ILC2 axis in CRC highlights this pathway as a potential therapeutic target against CRC.

Original publication




Journal article


Science Immunology


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Publication Date