Most studies on the immunotherapeutic potential of T cells have focused on CD8 and CD4 T cells that recognize peptide antigens (Ag) presented by polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and MHC class II molecules, respectively. However, unconventional T cells, which interact with MHC class Ib and MHC-I like molecules, are also implicated in tumor immunity, although their role therein is unclear. These include unconventional T cells targeting MHC class Ib molecules such as HLA-E and its murine ortholog Qa-1b, natural killer T (NKT) cells, mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, and γδ T cells. Here, we review the current understanding of the roles of these unconventional T cells in tumor immunity and discuss why further studies into the immunotherapeutic potential of these cells is warranted.
Godfrey et al. review the current understanding of the roles of unconventional T cells in tumor immunity, and discuss the therapeutic potential of harnessing the anti-tumor functions of cells characterized by repeated patterns of TCR usage in unrelated individuals.