Lymphocytes expanded from excised specimens can be used to characterize intratumoral T cell responses. These analyses, however, are limited to one time point in the natural history of the removed tumor. The expansion of autologous tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) from fine needle aspirates (FNA) of tumors potentially allows a dynamic evaluation of T cell responses within the same lesion at moments relevant to the disease course or response to therapy. Fourteen TIL cultures and 8 tumor cell lines were generated from 18 FNA (12 patients). Five of six TIL that could be tested against autologous tumor demonstrated specific reactivity. Two additional TIL for which no autologous tumor was available demonstrated recognition of HLA-matched melanoma cell lines. Serial FNA of the same lesions were performed in five HLA-A*0201 patients vaccinated with the emulsified melanoma Ag (MA) epitopes: MART-1:27-35; tyrosinase:368-376(370D); gp100:280-288(288V); and gp100:209217 (210M). FNA material was separately cultured for a short time in IL-2 (300 IU/ml) after stimulation with irradiated autologous PBMC pulsed with each peptide or FluM1:58-66 (1 μmol/ml). No peptide-specific TIL could be expanded from prevaccination FNA. However, after vaccination, TIL specific for gp100:280(g280), gp100:209 (g209), and MART-1:27-35 (MART-1)-related epitopes were identified in three, three, and two patients, respectively. No Flu reactivity could be elicited in TIL, whereas it was consistently present in parallel PBMC cultures. This excluded PBMC contamination of the FNA material. This analysis suggests the feasibility of TIL expansion from minimal FNA material and localization of vaccine-specific T cells at the tumor site.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy