Cell Rep Med. 2020 Oct 20;1(7):100127. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2020.100127. eCollection 2020 Oct 20.
Accumulation of CD103+CD8+ resident memory T (TRM) cells in human lung tumors has been associated with a favorable prognosis. However, the contribution of TRM to anti-tumor immunity and to the response to immune checkpoint blockade has not been clearly established. Using quantitative multiplex immunofluorescence on cohorts of non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with anti-PD-(L)1, we show that an increased density of CD103+CD8+ lymphocytes in immunotherapy-naive tumors is associated with greatly improved outcomes. The density of CD103+CD8+ cells increases during immunotherapy in most responder, but not in non-responder, patients. CD103+CD8+ cells co-express CD49a and CD69 and display a molecular profile characterized by the expression of PD-1 and CD39. CD103+CD8+ tumor TRM, but not CD103-CD8+ tumor-infiltrating counterparts, express Aiolos, phosphorylated STAT-3, and IL-17; demonstrate enhanced proliferation and cytotoxicity toward autologous cancer cells; and frequently display oligoclonal expansion of TCR-β clonotypes. These results explain why CD103+CD8+ TRM are associated with better outcomes in anti-PD-(L)1-treated patients.