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Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America
Torcellan, T;Hampton, HR;Bailey, J;Tomura, M;Brink, R;Chtanova, T;
Immune therapy is rapidly gaining prominence in the clinic as a major weapon against cancer. Whereas much attention has been focused on the infiltration of tumors by immune cells, the subsequent fate of these infiltrates remains largely unexplored. We therefore established a photoconversion-based model that allowed us to label tumor-infiltrating immune cells and follow their migration. Using this system, we identified a population of tumor-experienced cells that emigrate from primary tumors to draining lymph nodes via afferent lymphatic vessels. Although the majority of tumor-infiltrating cells were myeloid, T cells made up the largest population of tumor-egressing leukocytes. Strikingly, the subset composition of tumor-egressing T cells was greatly skewed compared with those that had infiltrated the tumor and those resident in the draining lymph node. Some T-cell subsets such as CD8(+) T cells emigrated more readily; others including CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells were preferentially retained, suggesting that specific mechanisms guide immune cell egress from tumors. Furthermore, tumor-egressing T cells were more activated and displayed enhanced effector function in comparison with their lymph node counterparts. Finally, we demonstrated that tumor-infiltrating T cells migrate to distant secondary tumors and draining lymph nodes, highlighting a mechanism whereby tumor-experienced effector T cells may mediate antitumor immunity at metastatic sites. Thus, our results provide insights into migration and function of tumor-infiltrating immune cells and the role of these cells in tumor immunity outside of primary tumor deposits.