Metastatic disease in the brain is difficult to control and predicts poor prognosis. Here, we analyze human brain metastases and demonstrate their robust infiltration by CD8+ T cell subsets with distinct antigen specificities, phenotypic states, and spatial localization within the tumor microenvironment. Brain metastases are densely infiltrated by T cells; the majority of infiltrating CD8+ T cells express PD-1. Single-cell RNA sequencing shows significant clonal overlap between proliferating and exhausted CD8+ T cells, but these subsets have minimal clonal overlap with circulating and other tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, including bystander CD8+ T cells specific for microbial antigens. Using spatial transcriptomics and spatial T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing, we show these clonally unrelated, phenotypically distinct CD8+ T cell populations occupy discrete niches within the brain metastasis tumor microenvironment. Together, our work identifies signaling pathways within CD8+ T cells and in their surrounding environment that may be targeted for immunotherapy of brain metastases.
Keywords: CD8(+) T cells; TCR-sequencing; brain metastases; bystander; exhaustion; spatial transcriptomics.
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.