Human gammadelta T cells: a nonredundant system in the immune-surveillance against cancer

Trends Immunol. 2002 Jan;23(1):14-8. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4906(01)02110-x.


Down-regulation of expression of MHC alleles, as well as tumor-specific antigens, is observed frequently during tumor progression, resulting in an impairment of MHC-restricted, alphabeta-T-cell-mediated, tumor-specific immunity. Given the unique set of antigens recognized and the lack of requirement for classical antigen-presenting molecules, gammadelta T cells might, therefore, represent a nonredundant system in anticancer surveillance, as proposed for the immune response against pathogens. Evidence that gammadelta and alphabeta T cells make distinct contributions to anticancer surveillance has been provided recently in mice. Here, we discuss the potential role played by resident Vdelta1(+) and circulating Vdelta2(+) T cells in the defense against solid tumors and hematological malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology


  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Receptors, Chemokine