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J Transl Med. 2018 Jan 10;16(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12967-017-1378-2.

Gamma-delta (γδ) T cells: friend or foe in cancer development?

Author information

1
Cancer Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, 130021, People's Republic of China.
2
Cancer Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, 130021, People's Republic of China. cuijw@jlu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

γδ T cells are a distinct subgroup of T cells containing T cell receptors (TCRs) γ and TCR δ chains with diverse structural and functional heterogeneity. As a bridge between the innate and adaptive immune systems, γδ T cells participate in various immune responses during cancer progression. Because of their direct/indirect antitumor cytotoxicity and strong cytokine production ability, the use of γδ T cells in cancer immunotherapy has received a lot of attention over the past decade.

MAIN TEXT:

Despite the promising potential of γδ T cells, the efficacy of γδ T cell immunotherapy is limited, with an average response ratio of only 21%. In addition, research over the past 2 years has shown that γδ T cells could also promote cancer progression by inhibiting antitumor responses, and enhancing cancer angiogenesis. As a result, γδ T cells have a dual effect and can therefore be considered as being both "friends" and "foes" of cancer. In order to solve the sub-optimal efficiency problem of γδ T cell immunotherapy, we review recent observations regarding the antitumor and protumor activities of major structural and functional subsets of human γδ T cells, describing how these subsets are activated and polarized, and how these events relate to subsequent effects in cancer immunity. A mixture of both antitumor or protumor γδ T cells used in adoptive immunotherapy, coupled with the fact that γδ T cells can be polarized from antitumor cells to protumor cells appear to be the likely reasons for the mild efficacy seen with γδ T cells.

CONCLUSION:

The future holds the promise of depleting the specific protumor γδ T cell subgroup before therapy, choosing multi-immunocyte adoptive therapy, modifying the cytokine balance in the cancer microenvironment, and using a combination of γδ T cells adoptive immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

KEYWORDS:

Adoptive immunotherapy; Antitumor; Cytokine; Polarization; Protumor; Tumor microenvironment; γδ T cells

PMID:
29316940
PMCID:
PMC5761189
DOI:
10.1186/s12967-017-1378-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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