MS4A1 expression and function in T cells in the colorectal cancer tumor microenvironment

T. William Mudd, Chunwan Lu, John D. Klement, Kebin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of human colorectal cancer remains resistant to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) immunotherapy, but the underlying mechanism is incompletely understood. We report here that MS4A1, the gene encoding B cell surface marker CD20, is significantly downregulated in human colorectal carcinoma. Furthermore, MS4A1 expression level in colorectal carcinoma is positively correlated with patient survival. Analysis of scRNA-Seq dataset from public database revealed that MS4A1 is also expressed in subsets of T cells. A CD8+CD20+ subset of T cells exists in the neighboring non-neoplastic colon but disappears in tumor in human colorectal carcinoma. Furthermore, analysis of a published nivolumab treatment dataset indicated that nivolumab-bound T cells from human patients during anti-PD-1 immunotherapy exhibit significantly higher MS4A1 expression. Our findings indicate that CD8+CD20+ T subset functions in host cancer immunosurveillance and tumor microenvironment suppresses this T subset through a PD-L1-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104260
JournalCellular Immunology
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • CD20
  • Colon carcinoma
  • Immune checkpoint
  • Immune suppression
  • MS4A1
  • PD-L1
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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