Tumour-reactive T cell subsets in the microenvironment of ovarian cancer

Marie Christine Wulff Westergaard, Rikke Andersen, Chloé Chong, Julie Westerlin Kjeldsen, Magnus Pedersen, Christina Friese, Thomas Hasselager, Henrik Lajer, George Coukos, Michal Bassani-Sternberg, Marco Donia, Inge Marie Svane*

*Corresponding author for this work
40 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Solid malignancies are frequently infiltrated with T cells. The success of adoptive cell transfer (ACT) with expanded tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in melanoma warrants its testing in other cancer types. In this preclinical study, we investigated whether clinical-grade TILs could be manufactured from ovarian cancer (OC) tumour specimens. Methods: Thirty-four tumour specimens were obtained from 33 individual patients with OC. TILs were analysed for phenotype, antigen specificity and functionality. Results: Minimally expanded TILs (Young TILs) were successfully established from all patients. Young TILs contained a high frequency of CD3 + cells with a variable CD4/CD8 ratio. TILs could be expanded to clinical numbers. Importantly, recognition of autologous tumour cells was demonstrated in TILs in >50% of the patients. We confirmed with mass spectrometry the presentation of multiple tumour antigens, including peptides derived from the cancer-testis antigen GAGE, which could be recognised by antigen-specific TILs. Antigen-specific TILs could be isolated and further expanded in vitro. Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that patients with OC can benefit from ACT with TILs and led to the initiation of a pilot clinical trial at our institution. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02482090.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)424-434
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


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