TCR repertoires of intratumoral T-cell subsets

Immunol Rev. 2014 Jan;257(1):72-82. doi: 10.1111/imr.12140.


The infiltration of human tumors by T cells is a common phenomenon, and over the past decades, it has become increasingly clear that the nature of such intratumoral T-cell populations can predict disease course. Furthermore, intratumoral T cells have been utilized therapeutically in clinical studies of adoptive T-cell therapy. In this review, we describe how novel methods that are either based on T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing or on cancer exome analysis allow the analysis of the tumor reactivity and antigen-specificity of the intratumoral TCR repertoire with unprecedented detail. Furthermore, we discuss studies that have started to utilize these techniques to probe the link between cancer exomes and the intratumoral TCR pool. Based on the observation that both the cancer epitope repertoire and intratumoral TCR repertoire appear highly individual, we outline strategies, such as 'autologous TCR gene therapy', that exploit the tumor-resident TCR repertoire for the development of personalized immunotherapy.

Keywords: MHC-multimer; T cell; TCR; cancer exome; gene therapy; immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell