It is well known that CD8+ T cells infiltrating tumors are largely dysfunctional, but do a subset of them retain functionality? To find an answer, researchers from Dr Enrico Lugli’s Lab at the Humanitas Institute, Milan, analyzed CD8+ T cells from 53 lung cancer patients using high-dimensional flow cytometry. Dr.Lugli and his team were able to define the subsets of CD8+ T cells that were enriched in tumors but not in cancer-free cells or blood. They also analyzed costimulatory and inhibitory receptors, which are possible targets of immunotherapy. The study by Dr.Lugli and his team has revealed a hierarchy of differentiation in the context of T cell exhaustion in human cancer, which disappears with disease progression.
This study has been published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Read about it here.