Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are used for the treatment of various cancers, but clinical trials of antiprogrammed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) with patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) have failed to show clinical benefits. In this study, we examined the differentiation status of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) from patients with primary GBM and their reinvigoration by ICIs to understand the nature of T-cell exhaustion in GBM. Experimental Design: We isolated TILs from 98 patients with newly diagnosed GBM and examined the expression of immune checkpoint receptors and T-cell transcription factors using flow cytometry. TILs were ex vivo stimulated with anti-CD3 in the presence of anti-PD-1 and/or anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and their proliferation assessed. Results:CD8+ TILs had significantly increased expression of immune checkpoint receptors, including PD-1 and CTLA-4, compared with peripheral blood CD8+ T cells. Among CD8+ TILs, PD-1+ cells exhibited more terminally differentiated phenotypes (i.e., EomeshiT-betlo) than PD-1- cells. These data were confirmed by analyzing NY-ESO-1157- specific CD8+ TILs. Evaluating the proliferation of CD8+ TILs after ex vivo stimulation with anti-CD3 and anti-PD-1, we found that proliferation inversely correlated with the percentage of EomeshiT-betlo cells among PD-1+CD8+ TILs. When anti- CTLA-4 was used in combination with anti-PD-1, an additional increase in CD8+ TIL proliferation was observed in patients with low percentages of EomeshiT-betlo CD8+ TILs, who responded well to anti-PD-1 in ex vivo assays, but not in patients with high percentages of EomeshiT-betlo CD8+ TILs, who did not respond to anti-PD-1. Conclusions: In primary GBM, the differentiation status of CD8+ TILs determines their reinvigoration ability upon ICI treatment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation Grants (NRF-2017R1A2A1A17069782 and NRF-2018M3A9D3079498).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research