Research Highlights | Published:

Cancer biology

T cells team up with chemotherapy

Nature volume 533, page 11 (05 May 2016) | Download Citation

Immune cells called T cells could make some chemotherapies more effective against ovarian cancer.

Rebecca Liu and Weiping Zou of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and their colleagues studied human ovarian cancer cells in culture. They showed that fibroblasts — connective-tissue cells found in and around tumours — made tumour cells resistant to the platinum-based chemotherapy drug cisplatin by reducing DNA-damaging platinum levels in cancer cells. T cells in the tumour's environment, however, restored the drug's tumour-killing abilities by producing a protein called interferon-γ, which alters certain metabolic pathways in fibroblasts. In women with ovarian cancer, levels of a type of T cell called CD8+ were higher in tumours that were more sensitive to cisplatin.

The results suggest that a combination of platinum-based chemotherapies and drugs that boost T-cell responses could be promising against ovarian cancer.

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