Longitudinal confocal microscopy imaging of solid tumor destruction following adoptive T cell transfer.

Schietinger A, Arina A, Liu RB, Wells S, Huang J, Engels B, Bindokas V, Bartkowiak T, Lee D, Herrmann A, Piston DW, Pittet MJ, Lin PC, Zal T, Schreiber H
Oncoimmunology. 2013 2 (11): e26677

PMID: 24482750 · PMCID: PMC3895414 · DOI:10.4161/onci.26677

A fluorescence-based, high-resolution imaging approach was used to visualize longitudinally the cellular events unfolding during T cell-mediated tumor destruction. The dynamic interplay of T cells, cancer cells, cancer antigen loss variants, and stromal cells-all color-coded in vivo-was analyzed in established, solid tumors that had developed behind windows implanted on the backs of mice. Events could be followed repeatedly within precisely the same tumor region-before, during and after adoptive T cell therapy-thereby enabling for the first time a longitudinal in vivo evaluation of protracted events, an analysis not possible with terminal imaging of surgically exposed tumors. T cell infiltration, stromal interactions, and vessel destruction, as well as the functional consequences thereof, including the elimination of cancer cells and cancer cell variants were studied. Minimal perivascular T cell infiltrates initiated vascular destruction inside the tumor mass eventually leading to macroscopic central tumor necrosis. Prolonged engagement of T cells with tumor antigen-crosspresenting stromal cells correlated with high IFN╬│ cytokine release and bystander elimination of antigen-negative cancer cells. The high-resolution, longitudinal, in vivo imaging approach described here will help to further a better mechanistic understanding of tumor eradication by T cells and other anti-cancer therapies.

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