Ex vivo characterization of γδ T-cell repertoire in patients after adoptive transfer of Vγ9Vδ2 T cells expressing the interleukin-2 receptor β-chain and the common γ-chain

Published:February 07, 2013DOI:


      Background aims

      Adoptive immunotherapy is emerging as a potent anti-tumor treatment modality; Vγ9Vδ2 T cells may represent appropriate agents for such cancer immunotherapy. To improve the currently limited success of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell–based immunotherapy, we examined the in vivo dynamics of these adoptively-transferred cells and hypothesized that interleukin (IL)-15 is the potential factor for Vγ9δ2 T cell in vivo survival.


      We conducted a clinical trial of adoptive Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell transfer therapy in six colorectal cancer patients who received pulmonary metastasectomy. Patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with zoledronate (5 μmol/L) and IL-2 (1000 IU/mL) for 14 d. Harvested cells, mostly Vγ9Vδ2 T cells, were given intravenously weekly without additional IL-2 eight times in total. The frequency, phenotype and common γ-chain cytokine receptor expression of Vγ9Vδ2 T cells in peripheral blood was monitored by flow cytometry at each time point during treatment and 4 and 12 weeks after the last administration.


      Adoptively transferred Vγ9Vδ2 T cells expanded well without exogenous IL-2 administration or lymphodepleting preconditioning. They maintained effector functions in terms of interferon-γ secretion and prompt release of cytotoxic granules in response to PMA/ionomycin or isopentenyl pyrophosphate–positive cells. Because they are IL-2RαIL-7RαIL-15RαIL-2Rβ+γc+, it is likely that IL-2 or IL-15 is required for their maintenance.


      The persistence of large numbers of functionally active adoptively transferred Vγ9Vδ2 T cells in the absence of exogenous IL-2 implies that an endogenous factor, such as IL-15 transpresentation, is adequate to support these cells in vivo.

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