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J Invest Dermatol. 2010 Jun;130(6):1726-36. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.362. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

Molecular analysis of tumor-promoting CD8+ T cells in two-stage cutaneous chemical carcinogenesis.

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Department of Dermatology and Skin Diseases Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


T-pro are tumor-infiltrating TCRalphabeta(+)CD8(+) cells of reduced cytotoxic potential that promote experimental two-stage chemical cutaneous carcinogenesis. Toward understanding their mechanism of action, this study uses whole-genome expression analysis to compare T-pro with systemic CD8(+) T cells from multiple groups of tumor-bearing mice. T-pro show an overt T helper 17-like profile (high retinoic acid-related orphan receptor-(ROR)gammat, IL-17A, IL-17F; low T-bet and eomesodermin), regulatory potential (high FoxP3, IL-10, Tim-3), and transcripts encoding epithelial growth factors (amphiregulin, Gro-1, Gro-2). Tricolor flow cytometry subsequently confirmed the presence of TCRbeta(+) CD8(+) IL-17(+) T cells among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Moreover, a time-course analysis of independent TIL isolates from papillomas versus carcinomas exposed a clear association of the "T-pro phenotype" with malignant progression. This molecular characterization of T-pro builds a foundation for elucidating the contributions of inflammation to cutaneous carcinogenesis, and may provide useful biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy in which the widely advocated use of tumor-specific CD8(+) cytolytic T cells should perhaps accommodate the cells' potential corruption toward the T-pro phenotype. The data are also likely germane to psoriasis, in which the epidermis may be infiltrated by CD8(+) IL-17-producing T cells.

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