Local administration of TLR ligands rescues the function of tumor-infiltrating CD8 T cells and enhances the antitumor effect of lentivector immunization

Haiyan Xiao, Yibing Peng, Yuan Hong, Lei Huang, Z. Sheng Guo, David L. Bartlett, Ning Fu, David H. Munn, Andrew Mellor, Yukai He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Cancer vaccines, to date, have shown limited effect to control the growth of established tumors due largely to effector failure of the antitumor immune responses. Tumor lesion is characterized as chronic indolent inflammation in which the effector function of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is severely impaired. In this study, we investigated whether the effector function of CD8 TILs could be rescued by converting the chronic inflammation milieu to acute inflammation within tumors. We found that injection of TLR3/9 ligands (polyI:C/CpG) into a tumor during the effector phase of lentivector (lv) immunization effectively rescued the function of lv-activated CD8 TILs and decreased the percentage of T regulatory within the tumor, resulting in a marked improvement in the antitumor efficacy of lv immunization. Mechanistically, rescue of the effector function of CD8 TILs by TLR3/9 ligands is most likely dependent on production, within a tumor, of type-1 IFN that can mature and activate tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells. The effector function of CD8 TILs could not be rescued in mice lacking intact type I IFN signaling. These findings have important implications for tumor immunotherapy, suggesting that type I IFN-mediated activation of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells within a tumor will most likely restore/enhance the effector function of CD8 TILs and thus improve the antitumor efficacy of current cancer vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5866-5873
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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