Memory T cells are uniquely resistant to melanoma-induced suppression
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- Wentworth, L., Meyers, J.V., Alam, S. et al. Cancer Immunol Immunother (2013) 62: 149. doi:10.1007/s00262-012-1326-1
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We have previously observed that in vivo exposure to growing melanoma tumors fundamentally alters activated T cell homeostasis by suppressing the ability of naïve T cells to undergo antigen-driven proliferative expansion. We hypothesized that exposure of T cells in later stages of differentiation to melanoma would have similar suppressive consequences. C57BL/6 mice were inoculated with media or syngeneic B16F10 melanoma tumors 8 or 60 days after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and splenic populations of LCMV-specific T cells were quantified using flow cytometry 18 days after tumor inoculation. Inoculation with melanoma on post-infection day 8 potentiated the contraction of previously activated T cells. This enhanced contraction was associated with increased apoptotic susceptibility among T cells from tumor-bearing mice. In contrast, inoculation with melanoma on post-infection day 60 did not affect the ability of previously established memory T cells to maintain themselves in stable numbers. In addition, the ability of previously established memory T cells to respond to LCMV challenge was unaffected by melanoma. Following adoptive transfer into melanoma-bearing mice, tumor-specific memory T cells were significantly more effective at controlling melanoma growth than equivalent numbers of tumor-specific effector T cells. These observations suggest that memory T cells are uniquely resistant to suppressive influences exerted by melanoma on activated T cell homeostasis; these findings may have implications for T cell–based cancer immunotherapy.