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Blood. 1998 Jun 1;91(11):4331-41.

Isolation of tumor-specific cytotoxic CD4+ and CD4+CD8dim+ T-cell clones infiltrating a cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1INSERM U448, Paris XII University, Paris, France.


We have isolated several T-cell clones from lymphocytes infiltrating a human major histocompatibility class (MHC) II negative cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). We describe here two of these clones, TC5 and TC7, with, respectively, a CD4(+)CD8dim+ and CD4(+)CD8(-) phenotype. Both clones mediated a specific MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic activity toward the fresh autologous tumor cells, and autologous tumor cell lines previously established with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-7 from the skin and from the blood. Analysis of the T-cell receptor (TCR) Vbeta gene expression showed that the tumor cells, which were shown to have a trisomy 7 by fluorescent in situ hybridization, expressed Vbeta7/Jbeta2.3, Vbeta13/Jbeta2.5, and Vbeta22/Jbeta2.5 rearrangements. Phenotypic analysis using specific anti-Vbeta monoclonal antibodies indicated that only Vbeta13 could be detected on the cell membrane of the tumor cells. Analysis of the TCR Vbeta gene expression of the clones showed that TC5 and TC7 expressed a unique TCR-Vbeta transcript, corresponding, respectively, to Vbeta5/Jbeta2.3 and Vbeta17/Jbeta2.7 gene segments. To determine whether these reactive T lymphocytes were present in vivo, we used specific primers corresponding to TC5- and TC7-Vbeta TCR transcripts. The results showed that both cytotoxic T-cell clones were present at the lesional skin site and amplified in vitro. TC7 was found in the patient peripheral blood invaded by tumoral cells, whereas TC5 was not, indicating that the repertoire of the reactional lymphocytes differs in the blood and at the tumor site. These results show for the first time the presence of reactive T lymphocytes with CD4 or double-positive phenotype infiltrating a CTCL. These findings raise the question of the role of these antitumoral effector T cells in the tumor growth.

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