The spleen is an important site of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) preconditioning and tumor-promoting myeloid cell generation in cancer, but the regulatory mechanism remains unclear. Here, we found that PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) mediated HSPC reprogramming into committed MDSC precursors in the spleen via PERK–ATF4–C/EBPβ signaling. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of this pathway in murine and human HSPCs prevented their myeloid descendant cells from becoming MDSCs even with subsequent exposure to tumor microenvironment (TME) factors. In mice, the selective delivery of PERK antagonists to the spleen was not only sufficient but more effective than the tumor-targeted strategy in preventing MDSC activation in the tumor, leading to profound TME reshaping and tumor regression. Clinically, HSPCs in the spleen of cancer patients exhibit increased PERK signaling correlated with enhanced myelopoiesis. Our findings indicate that PERK-mediated HSPC preconditioning plays a crucial role in MDSC generation, suggesting novel spleen-targeting therapeutic opportunities for restraining the tumor-promoting myeloid response at its source.

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