Adoptive immunotherapy with antitumor T cells is a promising novel approach for the treatment of cancer. However, T-cell therapy may be limited by the cotransfer of regulatory T cells (T(reg)). Here, we explored this hypothesis by using 2 cell surface markers, CD44 and CD137, to isolate antitumor CD4 T cells while excluding T(regs). In a murine model of B-cell lymphoma, only CD137(neg)CD44(hi) CD4 T cells infiltrated tumor sites and provided protection. Conversely, the population of CD137(pos)CD44hi CD4 T cells consisted primarily of activated T(regs). Notably, this CD137(pos) T(reg) population persisted following adoptive transfer and maintained expression of FoxP3 as well as CD137. Moreover, in vitro these CD137(pos) cells suppressed the proliferation of effector cells in a contact-dependent manner, and in vivo adding the CD137(pos)CD44(hi) CD4 cells to CD137(neg)CD44(hi) CD4 cells suppressed the antitumor immune response. Thus, CD137 expression on CD4 T cells defined a population of activated T(regs) that greatly limited antitumor immune responses. Consistent with observations in the murine model, human lymphoma biopsies also contained a population of CD137(pos) CD4 T cells that were predominantly CD25(pos)FoxP3(pos) T(regs). In conclusion, our findings identify 2 surface markers that can be used to facilitate the enrichment of antitumor CD4 T cells while depleting an inhibitory T(reg) population.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3375
View details for Web of Science ID 000300989100023
View details for PubMedID 22232735
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3294169