Glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor stimulation enhances the multifunctionality of adoptively transferred tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells with tumor regression

Cancer Sci. 2009 Jul;100(7):1317-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2009.01179.x. Epub 2009 Apr 29.


We have reported for the first time the significance of effector T-cell multifunctionality in antitumor immunity, suggesting that the appearance of multifunctional/polyfunctional tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells in vivo is a critical determinant of the success of antitumor immunotherapy, and a strategy to induce multifunctionality in effector cells is required for the successful immunotherapy of hosts with progressing tumor. Glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) stimulation has been shown to enhance antitumor immune response. However, its functional impact on adoptively transferred T cells remains unclear. Here, we analyzed the impact of GITR stimulation in vivo on the functional profiles of adoptively transferred CD8(+) T cells specific for murine fibrosarcoma CMS5. GITR stimulation was found to enhance multifunctionality (interferon (IFN)-gamma and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production and CD107a mobilization as a degranulation marker) in transferred cells at the single-cell level. These cells exhibited upregulated expression of CD25 in draining lymph nodes and increased infiltration in tumor. Mice that received T-cell therapy with GITR stimulation showed reduced Foxp3(+)CD4(+) T cells among tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and increased in vivo cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) activity even with progressing tumor, resulting in enhanced tumor regression. These data strengthen the idea that effector T-cell multifunctionality is a sensitive immune correlate for successful immunotherapy against malignancy and provide an immunological rationale for effective T-cell therapy combined with GITR stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / transplantation*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / agonists*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / agonists*


  • Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tnfrsf18 protein, mouse