In recent clinical trials in patients with metastatic melanoma, adoptive transfer of tumor-reactive lymphocytes mediated the regression of metastatic tumor deposits. To better understand the role of individual T cell clones in mediating tumor regression, a 5′ RACE technique was used to determine the distribution of TCM β-chain V region sequences expressed in the transferred cells as well as in tumor samples and circulating lymphocytes from melanoma patients following adoptive cell transfer. We found that dominant T cell clones were present in the in vitro-expanded and transferred tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte samples and certain T cell clones including the dominant T cell clones persisted at relatively high levels in the peripheral blood of the patients that demonstrated clinical responses to adoptive immunotherapy. However, these dominant clones were either undetected or present at a very low level in the resected tumor samples used for tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte generation. These data demonstrated that there was selective growth and survival, both in vitro and in vivo, of individual T cell clones from a relatively small number of T cells in the original tumor samples. These results suggest that the persistent T cell clones played an active role in mediating tumor regression and that 5′ RACE analysis may provide an important tool for the analysis of the role of individual T cell clones in mediating tumor regression. A similar analysis may also be useful for monitoring autoimmune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy