Mobilizing and Evaluating Anticancer T Cells

Pitfalls and Solutions

Céline Robert-Tissot; Linh T Nguyen; Pamela S Ohashi; Daniel E Speiser


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013;12(11):1325-1340. 

In This Article


Immunotherapy is a promising means to fight cancer, prompting a steady increase in clinical trials and correlative laboratory studies in this field. As antitumor T cells play central roles in immunity against malignant diseases, most immunotherapeutic protocols aim to induce and/or strengthen their function. Various treatment strategies have elicited encouraging clinical responses; however, major challenges have been uncovered that should be addressed in order to fully exploit the potential of immunotherapy. Here, we outline pitfalls for the mobilization of antitumor T cells and offer solutions to improve their therapeutic efficacy. We provide a critical perspective on the main methodologies used to characterize T-cell responses to cancer therapies, with a focus on discrepancies between T-cell attributes measured in vitro and protective responses in vivo. This review altogether provides recommendations to optimize the design of future clinical trials and highlights important considerations for the proficient analysis of clinical specimens available for research.