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J Clin Immunol. 2006 Sep;26(5):447-56. Epub 2006 Sep 12.

Ex-vivo analysis of CD8+ T cells infiltrating colorectal tumors identifies a major effector-memory subset with low perforin content.

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  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery, Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital, No. 52 Fu-cheng Road, Hai-dian District, Beijing 100036, PR China.


Previous studies have indicated that the infiltration of CD8+ T cells in colorectal cancer is an independent predictor of increased survival but clinical observations have suggested that the cytotoxic function of CD8+ T cells infiltrating colorectal cancer may often be limited. In this study, we have assessed the phenotype of colorectal cancer CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) isolated ex vivo from tumor tissue, and assessed the perforin content of TIL with respect to their location using immunohistochemistry. We found that CD8+ T cells TILs isolated from colorectal cancer are mainly composed of antigen-experienced cells of effector memory type (TEM, CD45RA-CCR7-, and CD27+/CD28- or CD27-/CD28-), and contain only minor proportions of terminally differentiated CD8+ T cells (TEMRA, CD45RA+CCR7-). The perforin content of these TILs, however, is significantly lower than that of antigen-experienced T cells in PBMCs due to the much lower levels of perforin found in the CD27-CD28- subset in TILs compared with CD8+ T cells of similar phenotype in PBMCs.

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