T cell burn out

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Science  02 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6537, pp. 44-45
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6537.44-g

Tumors generally contain infiltrating immune cells such as T lymphocytes, but these cells are often dysfunctional and offer little or no antitumor benefit. Cancer immunotherapies, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, aim to reactivate these inactive T cells, but this approach is often unsuccessful as well. Sanmamed et al. have discovered a distinct subset of intratumoral T cells that could help to explain these observations. This subset of cells, which the authors call “burned-out” effector T cells, are able to proliferate and accumulate in the microenvironment of human non-small-cell lung cancer but lack antitumor effects and contribute to therapeutic resistance.

Cancer Discov. 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0962 (2021).

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