Objective clinical responses have been observed in approximately 50% of patients who received non-myeloablative chemotherapy prior to the adoptive transfer of autologous melanoma-reactive tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Recent studies carried out through the use of antibodies directed against T-cell-receptor beta chain variable region (TRBV) products, as well as by direct sequencing of the expressed TRBV gene products, indicated that clinical responses in this trial were associated with the level of persistence of adoptively transferred T cells. In an attempt to further characterize T cells that persist in vivo following adoptive transfer, five dominant T-cell clonotypes were identified in TIL 2035, an adoptively transferred TIL that was associated with the complete regression of multiple metastases. The most highly persistent clonotype, which expressed the BV1 TR gene product, recognized the MAGE-6 cancer/testis antigen in the context of HLA-A23. This clonotype was detected in peripheral blood for over 16 months following adoptive transfer, expressed relatively higher levels of the co-stimulatory markers CD28 and CD27, and possessed telomeres that were long relative to other clonotypes present in TIL 2035 that showed only short-term persistence. The long-term persistent BV1 clonotype appeared to differentiate more slowly toward an end-stage effector in vivo than short-term persistent clonotypes, as manifested by the downregulation of CD28, CD27, and CD45RO and upregulation of CD57 and CD45RA expression on these T cells. These results indicated that the differentiation stage and replicative history of individual TIL clonotypes might be associated with their ability to survive and to persist in vivo, and progressive differentiation of the persistent clonotypes occurred following adoptive transfer.