Resident memory CD8 T cells, owing to their ability to reside and persist in peripheral tissues, impart adaptive sentinel activity and amplify local immune response, and have beneficial implications for tumor surveillance and control. The current study aimed to clarify the less known chemotactic mechanisms that govern the localization, retention, and residency of memory CD8 T cells in the ovarian tumor microenvironment.
RNA and protein expressions of chemokine receptors in CD8+ resident memory T cells in human ovarian tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and their association with survival were analyzed. The role of CXCR6 on antitumor T cells was investigated using prophylactic vaccine models in murine ovarian cancer.
Chemokine receptor profiling of CD8+CD103+ resident memory tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with ovarian cancer revealed high expression of CXCR6. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (ovarian cancer database revealed CXCR6 to be associated with CD103 and increased patient survival. Functional studies in mouse models of ovarian cancer revealed that CXCR6 is a marker of resident, but not circulatory, tumor-specific memory CD8+ T cells. CXCR6-deficient tumor-specific CD8+ T cells showed reduced retention in tumor tissues, leading to diminished resident memory responses and poor control of ovarian cancer.
CXCR6, by promoting retention in tumor tissues, serves a critical role in resident memory T cell-mediated immunosurveillance and control of ovarian cancer. Future studies warrant exploiting CXCR6 to promote resident memory responses in cancers.