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J Immunother. 2016 May;39(4):171-80. doi: 10.1097/CJI.0000000000000122.

Targeting PD-1 and Tim-3 Pathways to Reverse CD8 T-Cell Exhaustion and Enhance Ex Vivo T-Cell Responses to Autologous Dendritic/Tumor Vaccines.

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*Department of Oncology, Beijing Biohealthcare Biotechnology Co. Ltd †Department of Oncology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University ‡Department of Interventional Therapy Center, Beijing Shunyi District Hospital, Beijing, China.


The paradoxical coexistence of spontaneous tumor antigen-specific immune response with progressive disease in cancer patients need to dissect the molecular pathways involved in tumor-induced T-cell dysfunction or exhaustion. Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) has been identified as a marker of exhausted T cells in chronic disease states, and blockade of PD-1-PD-L1 interactions has been shown to partially restore T-cell function. We have found that T-cell immunoglobulin mucin (Tim) 3 is expressed on CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) isolated from patients with colorectal cancer. All T-cell immunoglobulin mucin 3 (Tim-3+) TILs coexpress PD-1, and Tim-3+ PD-1+ CD8+ TILs represent the predominant fraction of Tcells infiltrating tumors. Tim-3+PD-1+ CD8+ TILs exhibit the most severe exhausted phenotype as defined by failure to produce cytokines, such as interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukin-2. We further find that combined targeting of the Tim-3 and PD-1 pathways increased the frequencies of not only interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α but also frequencies of proliferating tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells than targeting either pathway alone. A concomitant decrease in regulatory T cells and enhanced killing in a cytotoxicity assay was observed. Collectively, our findings support the use of Tim-3-Tim-3L blockade together with PD-1-PD-L1 blockade to reverse tumor-induced T-cell exhaustion/dysfunction in patients with colorectal cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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