Skip to main content

Volume 3 Supplement 2

30th Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2015)

  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Preclinical development of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy for ovarian cancer


Immunotherapy has become an effective cancer therapy, particularly in the case of checkpoint blockade and adoptive T cell therapy (ACT). ACT exploits the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) by exponentially expanding their numbers ex vivo and re-infusing them into the patient in an autologous setting. With the effectiveness of TIL therapy already well established in multiple Phase II studies in melanoma, there is a push to translate it to other malignancies such as ovarian cancer (OvCa) [1].


The presence of TIL is correlated with greatly increased survival in OvCa [2, 3] suggesting that TIL effectively control the disease and provide a rationale to test TIL therapy in this setting. To assess the feasibility, we characterized the immune component of OvCa, explored the ability to grow & expand TIL from tumor fragments, and tested their functionality.


Extensive flow cytometry analysis detected a robust, activated T cell infiltrate that can be grown from OvCa samples obtained pre- and post-chemotherapy. The addition of an agonistic anti-41BB antibody to the cultures preferentially increased CD8+ TIL outgrowth as well as favored the expansion of NK cells. Importantly, success rate of TIL growth was increased from 40% to 90% for cultures grown without and with anti-41BB respectively. It was established next that the CD3+ TIL initially grown with anti-41BB could be rapidly expanded at least 1000 fold over two weeks. Finally, the rapidly expanded T cells exhibited anti-tumor capabilities in the context of re-directed killing assays.


In conclusion, further flow cytometry analysis to identify other agonistic and inhibitory targets is needed along with additional in vitro and in vivo experiments. However, the initial data suggest that TIL therapy for OvCa could be a viable therapeutic option in the future.


  1. Santoiemma PP, Powell DJ: Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in ovarian cancer. Canc Biol Ther. 2015, 16: 807-820.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Milne K, Kobel M, Kalloger SE, Barnes RO, Gao D, Gilks CV, et al: Systematic analysis of immune infiltrates in high-grade serious ovarian cancers reveals CD20, FoxP3, and TIA-1 as positive prognostic factors. PLoS One. 2009, 4: e6412-

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Nielsen JS, Sahota RA, Milne K, Kost SE, Nesslinger NJ, Watson PH, et al: CD20+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes have an atypical CD27-memory phenotype and together with CD8+ T cells promote favorable prognosis in ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2012, 18 (12): 3281-3292.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sakellariou-Thompson, D., Haymaker, C., Forget, MA. et al. Preclinical development of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy for ovarian cancer. j. immunotherapy cancer 3 (Suppl 2), P48 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: