Tumor Infiltrating Effector Memory Antigen-Specific CD8+ T Cells Predict Response to Immune Checkpoint Therapy

Nicola Principe, Joel Kidman, Siting Goh, Caitlin M. Tilsed, Scott A. Fisher, Vanessa S. Fear, Catherine A. Forbes, Rachael M. Zemek, Abha Chopra, Mark Watson, Ian M. Dick, Louis Boon, Robert A. Holt, Richard A. Lake, Anna K. Nowak, Willem Joost Lesterhuis, Alison M. McDonnell, Jonathan Chee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Immune checkpoint therapy (ICT) results in durable responses in individuals with some cancers, but not all patients respond to treatment. ICT improves CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) function, but changes in tumor antigen-specific CTLs post-ICT that correlate with successful responses have not been well characterized. Here, we studied murine tumor models with dichotomous responses to ICT. We tracked tumor antigen-specific CTL frequencies and phenotype before and after ICT in responding and non-responding animals. Tumor antigen-specific CTLs increased within tumor and draining lymph nodes after ICT, and exhibited an effector memory-like phenotype, expressing IL-7R (CD127), KLRG1, T-bet, and granzyme B. Responding tumors exhibited higher infiltration of effector memory tumor antigen-specific CTLs, but lower frequencies of regulatory T cells compared to non-responders. Tumor antigen-specific CTLs persisted in responding animals and formed memory responses against tumor antigens. Our results suggest that increased effector memory tumor antigen-specific CTLs, in the presence of reduced immunosuppression within tumors is part of a successful ICT response. Temporal and nuanced analysis of T cell subsets provides a potential new source of immune based biomarkers for response to ICT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number584423
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020

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