Are tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes protagonists or background actors in patient selection for cancer immunotherapy?

Federica Zito Marino, Paolo Antonio Ascierto, Giulio Rossi, Stefania Staibano, Marco Montella, Daniela Russo, Roberto Alfano, Alessandro Morabito, Gerardo Botti, Renato Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Introduction: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are frequently observed in several tumors, reflecting the dynamic process of ‘“cancer immunoediting”’. Prognostic and predictive values of TILs have been demonstrated in different cancers, proving their pivotal role in clinical outcome. In recent years, new therapies targeting immune checkpoint inhibitors, especially CTLA-4 and PD-1/PDL-1 pathways, have been introduced into clinical practice. In this context, TILs may even have a possible utility as a predictive biomarker for immunotherapy response. Areas covered: In this review, the authors summarize the most relevant knowledge related to TILs. This includes their prognostic and predictive significance in various types of tumour and the recent findings about their potential role in the cancer immunotherapy. Expert opinion: TILs evaluation could lead to a predictive biomarker for immunotherapy effectiveness in several cancer types. Furthermore, typing of TILs subpopulation could have clinical relevance in patient selection for treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. However further studies are still needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-746
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2017


  • immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunotherapy
  • microenvironment
  • multiplex immunohistochemical
  • programmed death 1
  • Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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