Comparison of Common γ-Chain Cytokines, Interleukin-2, Interleukin-7, and Interleukin-15 for the In Vitro Generation of Human Tumor-Reactive T Lymphocytes for Adoptive Cell Transfer Therapy

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The adoptive transfer of human tumor-reactive T lymphocytes into autologous patients can mediate the regression of metastatic melanoma. Here, the in vitro generation of melanoma-reactive T lymphocytes was compared using 3 common γ-chain cytokines, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-7, and IL-15, alone or in combination. The proliferation, function, and phenotype were evaluated for tumor-reactive T cells derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients previously immunized with the melanoma-associated peptide gp100:209–217(210M) and PBMCs transduced with a retrovirus encoding the α and β chains of a gp100-reactive T-cell receptor (TCR). IL-7 alone did not induce significant proliferation of any tumor-reactive T-cell population, whereas IL-2 and IL-15 induced significant proliferation of tumor-reactive T lymphocytes from both sources. Cells cultured in the presence of IL-2 or IL-15 secreted comparable amounts of interferon-γ and IL-2 in response to melanoma cells in vitro and were phenotypically similar in terms of costimulatory molecules (CD27 and CD28), cytokine receptors (CD25, CD122, and CD127), and a lymphoid homing molecule (CD62L). In addition, the proliferation, function, and phenotype of T cells cultured with combinations of IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15 were similar to those grown with IL-2 alone. The effects of these cytokines on TCR stimulation of CD45RA+ naive cells derived from adult patients and from human umbilical cord blood were also compared. Similar to the data with activated tumor-reactive T lymphocytes, IL-7 alone did not support significant proliferation of naive T cells after TCR stimulation with anti-CD3, although IL-2 and IL-15 induced comparable proliferation of T lymphocytes with similar phenotypic attributes.

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