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Whereas preclinical investigations and clinical studies have established that CD8+ T cells can profoundly affect cancer progression, the underlying mechanisms are still elusive. Challenging the prevalent view that the beneficial effect of CD8+ T cells in cancer is solely attributable to their cytotoxic activity, several reports have indicated that the ability of CD8+ T cells to promote tumor regression is dependent on their cytokine secretion profile and their ability to self-renew. Evidence has also shown that the tumor microenvironment can disarm CD8+ T cell immunity, leading to the emergence of dysfunctional CD8+ T cells. The existence of different types of CD8+ T cells in cancer calls for a more precise definition of the CD8+ T cell immune phenotypes in cancer and the abandonment of the generic terms "pro-tumor" and "antitumor." Based on recent studies investigating the functions of CD8+ T cells in cancer, we here propose some guidelines to precisely define the functional states of CD8+ T cells in cancer.

Original publication

DOI

10.1080/2162402X.2014.998538

Type

Journal article

Journal

Oncoimmunology

Publication Date

04/2015

Volume

4

Keywords

CD8+ T cells, IFNγ, anergy, anticancer immunity, cytotoxicity, effector, exhaustion, senescence, stemness