Harnessing γδ T cells in anticancer immunotherapy

Trends Immunol. 2012 May;33(5):199-206. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


γδ T lymphocytes are involved in the stress response to injured epithelia and in tissue homeostasis by limiting the dissemination of malignant or infected cells and by regulating the nature of the subsequent adaptive immune response. γδ T cells have potent MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity, a high potential for cytokine release and broad-spectrum recognition of cancer cells, and as such, are attractive effectors for cancer immunotherapy. Current expectations are going beyond ex vivo manipulation of the Vγ9Vδ2 T subset, and target novel γδ T cell subsets, properties or receptors, to harness these unconventional T lymphocytes against cancer. This Opinion article discusses novel aspects of γδ T cell function during the course of anticancer therapies, as well as new avenues for their clinical implementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Interleukin-17
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta