Recently, there has been an increased focus on the immune checkpoint protein PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 due to the discovery that blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway with monoclonal antibodies elicits striking clinical results in many different malignancies. We have described naturally occurring PD-L1-specific T cells that recognize both PD-L1-expressing immune cells and malignant cells. Thus, PD-L1-specific T cells have the ability to modulate adaptive immune reactions by reacting to regulatory cells. Thus, utilization of PD-L1-derived T cell epitopes may represent an attractive vaccination strategy for targeting the tumor microenvironment and for boosting the clinical effects of additional anticancer immunotherapy. This review summarizes present information about PD-L1 as a T cell antigen, depicts the initial findings about the function of PD-L1-specific T cells in the adjustment of immune responses, and discusses future opportunities.
Keywords: Anti-Tregs; CITIM 2015; Cancer vaccines; PD-L1; PD-L1-specific T cells.