Integrating T cell metabolism in cancer immunotherapy

Erica Dugnani, Valentina Pasquale, Carlotta Bordignon, Adriana Canu, Lorenzo Piemonti, Paolo Monti

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Activation and maintenance of the T cell response occurs concurrently with metabolic reprogramming. This ensures the T cell response is supported by sufficient energy and substrates necessary for cell survival, growth and proliferation. Different metabolic programs are associated with differentiation into different cell subsets, effector function and development of long-lasting memory. This provides an opportunity to improve the T cell response through manipulation of metabolism, which is instrumental to ameliorate the current protocols for cancer immunotherapy. Using drugs and molecules targeting selective metabolic pathways it is now possible to generate T cells that can mount a durable and stable anti-tumor response. On the other hand, cancer cells can take advantage of the metabolic requirements of T cells to evade the immune response. In this brief review we discuss recent findings of T cell metabolism in quiescence and activation, how the tumor microenvironment can affect T cell metabolism, and how T cell metabolism can be manipulated to improve the T cell response to tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Letters
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2017


  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Neoplasms
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Journal Article
  • Review

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