Understanding the relationship between tumor and peripheral immune environments could allow longitudinal immune monitoring in cancer. Here, we examined whether T cells that share the same TCRαβ and are found in both tumor and blood can be interrogated to gain insight into the ongoing tumor T cell response. Paired transcriptome and TCRαβ repertoire of circulating and tumor-infiltrating T cells were analyzed at the single-cell level from matched tumor and blood from patients with metastatic melanoma. We found that in circulating T cells matching clonally expanded tumor-infiltrating T cells (circulating TILs), gene signatures of effector functions, but not terminal exhaustion, reflect those observed in the tumor. In contrast, features of exhaustion are displayed predominantly by tumor-exclusive T cells. Finally, genes associated with a high degree of blood–tumor TCR sharing were overexpressed in tumor tissue after immunotherapy. These data demonstrate that circulating TILs have unique transcriptional patterns that may have utility for the interrogation of T cell function in cancer immunotherapy.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).
You do not currently have access to this content.