The identification of reciprocal interactions between tumor-infiltrating immune cells and the microenviroment may help us understand mechanisms of tumor growth inhibition or progression. We have assessed the frequencies of tumor-infiltrating and circulating γδ T cells and regulatory T cells (Treg) from 47 patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), to determine if they correlated with progression or survival. Vδ1 T cells infiltrated SSC tissue to a greater extent than normal skin, but SCC patients and healthy subjects had similar amounts circulating. However, Vδ2 T cells were present at higher frequencies in circulation than in the tissue of either cancer patients or healthy donors. Tregs were decreased in the peripheral blood of SCC patients, but were significantly increased in the tumor compartment of these patients. Tumor-infiltrating γδ T cells preferentially showed an effector memory phenotype and made either IL17 or IFNγ depending on the tumor stage, whereas circulating γδ T cells of SCC patients preferentially made IFNγ. Different cell types in the tumor microenvironment produced chemokines that could recruit circulating γδ T cells to the tumor site and other cytokines that could reprogram γδ T cells to produce IL17. These findings suggest the possibility that γδ T cells in SCC are recruited from the periphery and their features are then affected by the tumor microenvironment. Elevated frequencies of infiltrating Vδ2 T cells and Tregs differently correlated with early and advanced tumor stages, respectively. Our results provide insights into the functions of tumor-infiltrating γδ T cells and define potential tools for tumor immunotherapy. Cancer Immunol Res; 5(5); 397–407. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received December 1, 2016.
- Revision received February 6, 2017.
- Accepted March 23, 2017.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.