CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell states in human cancer: insights from single-cell analysis.


The T cell infiltrates that are formed in human cancers are a modifier of natural disease progression and also determine the probability of clinical response to cancer immunotherapies. Recent technological advances that allow the single-cell analysis of phenotypic and transcriptional states have revealed a vast heterogeneity of intratumoural T cell states, both within and between patients, and the observation of this heterogeneity makes it critical to understand the relationship between individual T cell states and therapy response. This Review covers our current knowledge of the T cell states that are present in human tumours and the role that different T cell populations have been hypothesized to play within the tumour microenvironment, with a particular focus on CD8+ T cells. The three key models that are discussed herein are as follows: (1) the dysfunction of T cells in human cancer is associated with a change in T cell functionality rather than inactivity; (2) antigen recognition in the tumour microenvironment is an important driver of T cell dysfunctionality and the presence of dysfunctional T cells can hence be used as a proxy for the presence of a tumour-reactive T cell compartment; (3) a less dysfunctional population of tumour-reactive T cells may be required to drive a durable response to T cell immune checkpoint blockade.

More about this publication

Nature reviews. Cancer
  • Volume 20
  • Issue nr. 4
  • Pages 218-232
  • Publication date 01-04-2020

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