Cancer Immunol Res 2020 Mar 21;8(3):321-333. Epub 2020 Jan 21.
Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
CD8 T cells can be polarized into several different subsets as defined by the cytokines they produce and the transcription factors that govern their differentiation. Here, we identified the polarizing conditions to induce an IL22-producing CD8 Tc22 subset, which is dependent on IL6 and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor transcription factor. Further characterization showed that this subset was highly cytolytic and expressed a distinct cytokine profile and transcriptome relative to other subsets. In addition, polarized Tc22 were able to control tumor growth as well as, if not better than, the traditional IFNγ-producing Tc1 subset. Tc22s were also found to infiltrate the tumors of human patients with ovarian cancer, comprising up to approximately 30% of expanded CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Importantly, IL22 production in these CD8 TILs correlated with improved recurrence-free survival. Given the antitumor properties of Tc22 cells, it may be prudent to polarize T cells to the Tc22 lineage when using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T or T-cell receptor (TCR) transduction-based immunotherapies.