Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for treatment of solid tumors: It takes two to tango?

Front Immunol. 2022 Oct 28:13:1018962. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.1018962. eCollection 2022.


Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), frontline soldiers of the adaptive immune system, are recruited into the tumor site to fight against tumors. However, their small number and reduced activity limit their ability to overcome the tumor. Enhancement of TILs number and activity against tumors has been of interest for a long time. A lack of knowledge about the tumor microenvironment (TME) has limited success in primary TIL therapies. Although the advent of engineered T cells has revolutionized the immunotherapy methods of hematologic cancers, the heterogeneity of solid tumors warrants the application of TILs with a wide range of specificity. Recent advances in understanding TME, immune exhaustion, and immune checkpoints have paved the way for TIL therapy regimens. Nowadays, TIL therapy has regained attention as a safe personalized immunotherapy, and currently, several clinical trials are evaluating the efficacy of TIL therapy in patients who have failed conventional immunotherapies. Gaining favorable outcomes following TIL therapy of patients with metastatic melanoma, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer has raised hope in patients with refractory solid tumors, too. Nevertheless, TIL therapy procedures face several challenges, such as high cost, timely expansion, and technical challenges in selecting and activating the cells. Herein, we reviewed the recent advances in the TIL therapy of solid tumors and discussed the challenges and perspectives.

Keywords: TIL therapy; combination therapy; immunotherapy; solid tumor; tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating
  • Melanoma*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms*
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment