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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01719

T cell dysfunction in cancer immunity and immunotherapy

 Anliang Xia1, Xiao-Yu Zhang2, Jiayu Wang3, Tailang Yin3 and  Xiao-Jie Lu1*
  • 1First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, China
  • 2Huai'an Second People's Hospital, China
  • 3Renmin Hospital, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Wuhan University, China

In cancer, T cells become dysfunctional owing to persistent antigen exposure. Dysfunctional T cells are characterized by reduced proliferative capacity, decreased effector function, and overexpression of multiple inhibitory receptors. Due to the presence of various inhibitory signals in the complex tumor microenvironment, tumor-specific T cells have distinct dysfunction states. Therapeutic reactivation of tumor-specific T cells has yielded good results in cancer patients. Here, we review the hallmarks of T cell dysfunction in cancer. Also, we discuss the relationship between T cell dysfunction and cancer immunotherapy.

Keywords: T cell dysfunction, Immunity, Cancer, Immunotherapy, Tumor Microenvironment

Received: 20 May 2019; Accepted: 09 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Luca Gattinoni, National Cancer Institute (NCI), United States

Reviewed by:

Daniel E. Speiser, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Sema Kurtulus, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Xia, Zhang, Wang, Yin and Lu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Xiao-Jie Lu, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China,