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. 2020 Mar;579(7798):274-278.
doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2056-8. Epub 2020 Feb 26.

Peripheral T Cell Expansion Predicts Tumour Infiltration and Clinical Response

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Peripheral T Cell Expansion Predicts Tumour Infiltration and Clinical Response

Thomas D Wu et al. Nature. .

Abstract

Despite the resounding clinical success in cancer treatment of antibodies that block the interaction of PD1 with its ligand PDL11, the mechanisms involved remain unknown. A major limitation to understanding the origin and fate of T cells in tumour immunity is the lack of quantitative information on the distribution of individual clonotypes of T cells in patients with cancer. Here, by performing deep single-cell sequencing of RNA and T cell receptors in patients with different types of cancer, we survey the profiles of various populations of T cells and T cell receptors in tumours, normal adjacent tissue, and peripheral blood. We find clear evidence of clonotypic expansion of effector-like T cells not only within the tumour but also in normal adjacent tissue. Patients with gene signatures of such clonotypic expansion respond best to anti-PDL1 therapy. Notably, expanded clonotypes found in the tumour and normal adjacent tissue can also typically be detected in peripheral blood, which suggests a convenient approach to patient identification. Analyses of our data together with several external datasets suggest that intratumoural T cells, especially in responsive patients, are replenished with fresh, non-exhausted replacement cells from sites outside the tumour, suggesting continued activity of the cancer immunity cycle in these patients, the acceleration of which may be associated with clinical response.

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