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POSTECH Life Science

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IL-7-primed bystander CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes optimize the antitumor efficacy of T cell engager immunotherapy

2024-05-17 237

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Bispecific T cell engagers (TCEs) show promising clinical efficacy in blood tumors, but their application to solid tumors remains challenging. Here, we show that Fc-fused IL-7 (rhIL-7-hyFc) changes the intratumoral CD8 T cell landscape, enhancing the efficacy of TCE immunotherapy. rhIL-7-hyFc induces a dramatic increase in CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in various solid tumors, but the majority of these cells are PD-1-negative tumor non-responsive bystander T cells. However, they are non-exhausted and central memory-phenotype CD8 T cells with high T cell receptor (TCR)-recall capacity that can be triggered by tumor antigen-specific TCEs to acquire tumoricidal activity. Single-cell transcriptome analysis reveals that rhIL-7-hyFc-induced bystander CD8 TILs transform into cycling transitional T cells by TCE redirection with decreased memory markers and increased cytotoxic molecules. Notably, TCE treatment has no major effect on tumor-reactive CD8 TILs. Our results suggest that rhIL-7-hyFc treatment promotes the antitumor efficacy of TCE immunotherapy by increasing TCE-sensitive bystander CD8 TILs in solid tumors.

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