Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) is a promising approach to cancer immunotherapy, but its efficiency fundamentally depends on the extent of tumor-specific T cell enrichment within the graft. This can be estimated via activation with identifiable neoantigens, tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), or living or lysed tumor cells, but these approaches remain laborious, time-consuming, and functionally limited, hampering clinical development of ACT. Here, we demonstrate that homology cluster analysis of T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires efficiently identifies tumor-reactive TCRs allowing to: (1) detect their presence within the pool of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs); (2) optimize TIL culturing conditions, with IL-2low/IL-21/anti-PD-1 combination showing increased efficiency; (3) investigate surface marker-based enrichment for tumor-targeting T cells in freshly isolated TILs (enrichment confirmed for CD4+ and CD8+ PD-1+/CD39+ subsets), or re-stimulated TILs (informs on enrichment in 4-1BB-sorted cells). We believe that this approach to the rapid assessment of tumor-specific TCR enrichment should accelerate T cell therapy development.
- cancer immunotherapy
- T cell receptor repertoires
- TCR clusters
- tumor-associated antigens
- tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes