Regulatory and effector functions of gamma–delta (γδ) T cells and their therapeutic potential in adoptive cellular therapy for cancer

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Abstract

γδ T cells are an important innate immune component of the tumor microenvironment and are known to affect the immune response in a wide variety of tumors. Unlike αβ T cells, γδ T cells are capable of spontaneous secretion of IL-17A and IFN-γ without undergoing clonal expansion. Although γδ T cells do not require self-MHC-restricted priming, they can distinguish “foreign” or transformed cells from healthy self-cells by using activating and inhibitory killer Ig-like receptors. γδ T cells were used in several clinical trials to treat cancer patient due to their MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity, ability to distinguish transformed cells from normal cells, the capacity to secrete inflammatory cytokines and also their ability to enhance the generation of antigen-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell response. In this review, we discuss the effector and regulatory function of γδ T cells in the tumor microenvironment with special emphasis on the potential for their use in adoptive cellular immunotherapy.

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