Background: Tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy is showing great promise in the treatment of patients with advanced malignant melanoma. However, the translation of TIL therapy to non-melanoma tumours such as renal cell carcinoma has been less successful with a major constraint being the inability to reproducibly generate TILs from primary and metastatic tumour tissue.
Methods: Primary and metastatic renal cell carcinoma biopsies were subjected to differential tumour disaggregation methods and procedures that stimulate the specific expansion of TILs tested to determine which reliably generated TIL maintained antitumour specificity.
Results: Enzymatic or combined enzymatic/mechanical disaggregation resulted in equivalent numbers of TILs being liberated from renal cell carcinoma biopsies. Following mitogenic activation of the isolated TILs with anti-CD3/anti-CD28-coated paramagnetic beads, successful TIL expansion was achieved in 90% of initiated cultures. The frequency of T-cell recognition of autologous tumours was enhanced when tumours were disaggregated using the GentleMACS enzymatic/mechanical system.
Conclusion: TILs can be consistently produced from renal cell carcinoma biopsies maintaining autologous tumour recognition after expansion in vitro. While the method of disaggregation has little impact on the success of TIL growth, methods that preserve the cell surface architecture facilitate TIL recognition of an autologous tumour, which is important in terms of characterising the functionality of the expanded TIL population.