Resident memory T (TRM) cells are a unique subset of CD8+ T cells that are present within certain tissues and do not recirculate through the blood. Long term memory establishment and maintenance are dependent on tissue population of memory T cells. They are characterized by dual CD69/CD103 positivity, and play a role in both response to viral infection and local cancer immunosurveillance. Human TRM cells demonstrate the increased expression of adhesion molecules to facilitate tissue retention, have reduced proliferation and produce both regulatory and immune responsive cytokines. TRM cell phenotype is often characterized by a distinct expression profile driven by Runx3, Blimp1, and Hobit transcription factors. The accumulation of TRM cells in tumors is associated with increased survival and response to immunotherapies, including anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4. In this review, we explore potential mechanisms of TRM cell transformation and maintenance, as well as potential applications for the use of TRM cells in both the development of supportive therapies and establishing more accurate prognoses.
Keywords: cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; memory T cells.