Gamma-Delta T lymphocytes, promote cervical cancer caused by the papillomavirus

Gamma-Delta T lymphocytes, promote cervical cancer caused by the papillomavirus

Researchers from the GIGA Cellular and Molecular Immunology Laboratory (led by Nathalie Jacobs) and ULB’s Pharmacotherapy and Pharmaceutical Pharmacy Department (led by David Vermijlen) have investigated unconventional T lymphocytes cells expressing a receptor composed of γ and δ chains, in the specific case of human papillomavirus-induced (HPV) cervical cancer.

Of all tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, T cells bearing γδ T cell receptors have been associated with the most favorable prognosis. However, we show here, in a mouse model of carcinogenesis induced by human papillomavirus (HPV)-oncoproteins, that γδ T cells promoted the development of HPV-induced lesions.

Indeed, HPV-oncoprotein expression induced an infiltration of γδ T cells producing IL-17A, a proangiogenic cytokine, and a decreased density of anti-tumor Vγ5+ γδ T subsets. Supporting the clinical relevance of our observations, IL-17A+ γδ T cells were detected in human cervical cancer, where HPV-oncoproteins are highly expressed, but not in less advanced cervical lesions.

These results support the notion that viral oncoproteins can induce a switch from antitumoral to pro-tumoral γδ T subsets in solid tumors.

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