Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and melanoma tumorigenesis: an insight

Br J Dermatol. 2005 Jul;153(1):18-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2005.06629.x.


The presence of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) amid the tumour cells in the stroma and overlying epidermis is a constant feature of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer. These lymphocytes are mostly cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) that can be propagated in vitro by specific cytokines. Also, they can kill melanoma cells. This specific killing can be abrogated by monoclonal antibodies against CD3, CD8, T-cell receptors (TCRs) and against class I human leucocyte antigens (HLAs). This indicates that these CTLs can recognize the melanoma cells through the TCRs, in an HLA class I-restricted manner. Therefore, these cells and their products both are critical players in T cell-induced melanoma regression and are powerful predictors of survival. This review seeks to examine the characteristics, activation and role of TILs and their associated molecules in melanomas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm