Consensus nomenclature for CD8+ T cell phenotypes in cancer

Lionel Apetoh, Mark J. Smyth, Charles G. Drake, Jean Pierre Abastado, Ron N. Apte, Maha Ayyoub, Jean Yves Blay, Marc Bonneville, Lisa H. Butterfield, Anne Caignard, Chiara Castelli, Federica Cavallo, Esteban Celis, Lieping Chen, Mario P. Colombo, Begoña Comin-Anduix, Georges Coukos, Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Glenn Dranoff, Ian H. FrazerWolf Hervé Fridman, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Eli Gilboa, Sacha Gnjatic, Dirk Jäger, Pawel Kalinski, Howard L. Kaufman, Rolf Kiessling, John Kirkwood, Alexander Knuth, Roland Liblau, Michael T. Lotze, Enrico Lugli, Francesco Marincola, Ignacio Melero, Cornelis J. Melief, Thorsten R. Mempel, Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, Kunle Odun, Willem W. Overwijk, Anna Karolina Palucka, Giorgio Parmiani, Antoni Ribas, Pedro Romero, Robert D. Schreiber, Gerold Schuler, Pramod K. Srivastava, Eric Tartour, Danila Valmori, Sjoerd H. van der Burg, Pierre van der Bruggen, Benoît J. van den Eynde, Ena Wang, Weiping Zou, Theresa L. Whiteside, Daniel E. Speiser, Drew M. Pardoll, Nicholas P. Restifo, Ana C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Whereas preclinical investigations and clinical studies have established that CD8+ T cells can profoundly affect cancer progression, the underlying mechanisms are still elusive. Challenging the prevalent view that the beneficial effect of CD8+ T cells in cancer is solely attributable to their cytotoxic activity, several reports have indicated that the ability of CD8+T cells to promote tumor regression is dependent on their cytokine secretion profile and their ability to self-renew. Evidence has also shown that the tumor microenvironment can disarm CD8+ T cell immunity, leading to the emergence of dysfunctional CD8+ T cells. The existence of different types of CD8+ T cells in cancer calls for a more precise definition of the CD8+ T cell immune phenotypes in cancer and the abandonment of the generic terms “pro-tumor” and “antitumor.” Based on recent studies investigating the functions of CD8+ T cells in cancer, we here propose some guidelines to precisely define the functional states of CD8+T cells in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Anergy
  • Anticancer immunity
  • CD8 T cells
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Effector
  • Exhaustion
  • IFNγ
  • Senescence
  • Stemness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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