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J Immunol. 2010 Jan 15;184(2):607-14. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0804089. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Antigen specificity determines the pro- or antitumoral nature of CD8+ T cells.

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Department of Infection, Immunity and Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


Although CD8+ T cells are usually considered antitumoral, several recent studies report that the cells can also promote tumor progression. Using the melanoma cell line B16 as a murine model of pulmonary metastasis, we examined whether the pro- versus antitumoral effects of CD8+ T cells relate to their Ag specificity. Results of the study indicate that although CD8+ T cells specific for tumor Ags promote tumor rejection, CD8+ T cells specific for unrelated Ags promote tumor progression. We found the effect to be partly attributable to CD8+ T cells dampening effective antitumor NK cell responses. Notably, activation of CD8+ T cell responses by an unrelated stimulus, in this case infection with influenza virus, increased the number of pulmonary tumor nodules. These data provide a rationale for previously unexplained data identifying contrasting roles for CD8+ T cells in tumor progression.

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