Ist To Monitor T Cell Directed Vaccine Trials In Cancer Patients

IST is a useful tool to evaluate the induction, localization, and phenotype of antigen specific CD8+ T cells in tissues after T cell directed vaccination of cancer patients.

Schrama et al. characterized the inoculation site of dendritic cell (DC) vaccination in patients with melanoma. They determined that antigen pulsed DC, but not unpulsed DC recruited and induced the local expansion of melanoma specific T cells at the inoculation site. They used MHC-multimers loaded with melanoma antigens MART, MAGE3, and gp100 and stained skin biopsies from vaccinated patients to demonstrate the specificity of the recruited and expanded T cells at the inoculation site.

As discussed above, T cells specific for the tumor antigen survivin taken from melanoma and breast cancer tumors were shown to be cytolytic ex vivo (6). In contrast, recent studies of T cells specific for the MART tumor epitope showed that the tumor specific T cells had effector function in circulating blood but were functionally tolerant in tumor lesions (21). Findings such as these demonstrate that the functional status of T cells in blood does not always reflect the functional status in tissues and stresses the importance of in situ analysis of T cells in tissues.

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