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Jan 2018 Cellular immunology

Role of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with solid tumors: Can a drop dig a stone?


Badalamenti G, Fanale D, Incorvaia L, Barraco N, Listì A, Maragliano R, Vincenzi B, Calò V, Iovanna JL, Bazan V, Russo A


In recent years, multiple strategies for eliciting anti-tumor immunity have been developed in different clinical studies. Currently, immunotherapy was clinically validated as effective treatment option for many tumors such as melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Some surface receptors of immune cells, called immune checkpoint receptors, may inhibit activity of proinflammatory lymphocytes, following binding with specific ligands. Cancer cells exploit these mechanisms to inactivate tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) to escape from immunosurveillance. Among the different tumor-infiltrating immune cell populations, including leucocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells and mast cells, TILs are considered a selected population of T-cells with a higher specific immunological reactivity against tumor cells than the non-infiltrating lymphocytes. In this review we will discuss the promising role of TILs as biomarkers reflecting the immune response to the tumor, describing their potential ability to predict the prognosis and clinical outcome of immunotherapy in some solid tumors.

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