INTRODUCTION: Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is a highly personalized type of cancer immunotherapy. TIL-based ACT exploits naturally occurring TILs, derived from the patients' tumor. This treatment has shown consistent clinical responses in melanoma, and recent results point toward a potential use in multiple cancer diagnoses. However, several limitations have restricted the clinical development and adaptation of TIL-based ACT.
AREAS COVERED: In this review, we present the principles of TIL-based ACT and discuss the most significant limitations for therapeutic efficacy and its widespread application. The topics of therapeutic resistance (both innate and acquired), treatment-related toxicity, and the novel research topic of metabolic barriers in the tumor microenvironment (TME) are covered.
EXPERT OPINION: There are many ongoing areas of research focusing on improving clinical efficacy and optimizing TIL-based ACT. Many strategies have shown a great potential, particularly strategies advancing TIL efficacy (such as increasing and harnessing ex vivo the sub-population of tumor-reactive TILs) and manufacturing processes. Novel approaches can help overcome current limitations and potentially result in TIL-based ACT entering the mainstream of cancer therapy across tumor types.
- Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
- Immunotherapy, Adoptive/methods
- Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating
- Tumor Microenvironment