Key clinical point: Hepatocellular carcinoma tissue contains several unique populations of tumor infiltrating cells, including some exhausted effector T cells that regain normal function when treated with the immunotherapy drug nivolumab.
Major finding: Unique populations of CD4+, CD8+, and CD4-CD8 double-negative cells expressing specific activation markers and inhibitory receptors preferentially accumulated in tumor tissue.
Study details: Analysis of tumor tissue biopsies, nontumor liver biopsies, and peripheral blood samples from 36 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
Disclosures: The study was supported by grants from the European Research Council and the Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology, among others. Study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.
Di Blasi D et al. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Aug 22. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2019.08.004.