T Cell Dysfunction in Cancer

Cancer Cell. 2018 Apr 9;33(4):547-562. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.03.012.


Therapeutic reinvigoration of tumor-specific T cells has greatly improved clinical outcome in cancer. Nevertheless, many patients still do not achieve durable benefit. Recent evidence from studies in murine and human cancer suggest that intratumoral T cells display a broad spectrum of (dys-)functional states, shaped by the multifaceted suppressive signals that occur within the tumor microenvironment. Here we discuss the current understanding of T cell dysfunction in cancer, the value of novel technologies to dissect such dysfunction at the single cell level, and how our emerging understanding of T cell dysfunction may be utilized to develop personalized strategies to restore antitumor immunity.

Keywords: PD-1; T cell exhaustion; cancer; cancer immunotherapy; single cell technologies; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clonal Anergy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment