Innate Anti-Breast Cancer Immunity of Apoptosis-Resistant Human gammadelta-T Cells

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2005 Sep;93(2):169-75. doi: 10.1007/s10549-005-4792-8.


We previously identified a CD2-initiated signaling pathway which inhibits activation-induced cell death in mitogen-stimulated human gammadelta-T cells permitting the large-scale expansion of these cells. Here we report the innate anti-tumor activity of expanded human gammadelta-T cells against human breast cancer cells. Apoptosis-resistant human gammadelta-T cells which were expanded in vitro from cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells displayed lytic activity against breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and T-47D, but failed to kill normal human skin fibroblasts and normal human liver cells. Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) directed against the gammadelta-T cell receptor (TCR) or mAb directed against either the Vgamma9 or the Vdelta2 TCR chains were able to block gammadelta-T cell-mediated lysis of MDA-MB-231 cells. In addition, mAb against intercellular adhesion molecules-1 (ICAM-1/CD54) or CD18 (beta subunit of ICAM-1 counter-receptor) also blocked gammadelta-T cell-mediated killing of MDA-MB-231 cells. Ex vivo expanded human gammadelta-T cells are thus able to innately recognize and kill human breast cancer cells in a gammadelta-TCR-dependent manner; ICAM-1 and CD18 also appear to be involved in the interactions between sensitive breast cancer cells and cytolytic gammadelta-T cells. As apoptosis-resistant human gammadelta-T cells can now readily be expanded to large numbers (clinical scale), these findings must be considered in the context of developing adoptive immunotherapy strategies to exploit gammadelta-T cell innate immune responses for the primary or adjuvant treatment of breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta