Although chemotherapy has been an essential treatment for cancer, the development of immune checkpoint blockade therapy was revolutionary, and a comprehensive understanding of the immunological tumor microenvironment (TME) has become crucial. Here, we investigated the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) on immune cells in the TME of human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma using single cell RNA-sequencing. Analysis of 30 fresh samples revealed that CD8+/CD4+ T cells, dendritic cells (DCs), and macrophages in the TME of human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma showed higher levels of an anti-tumor immune response in the NAC(+) group than in the NAC(−) group. Furthermore, the immune cells of the NAC(+) group interacted with each other resulting in enhanced anti-tumor immune response via various cytokines, including IFNG in CD8+/CD4+ T cells, EBI3 in DCs, and NAMPT in macrophages. Our results suggest that NAC potentially enhances the anti-tumor immune response of immune cells in the TME.
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