Significance of TIM3 expression in cancer: From biology to the clinic

Cinzia Solinas, Pushpamali De Silva, Dominique Bron, Karen Willard-Gallo, Dario Sangiolo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Targeting inhibitory immune checkpoint molecules has dramatically changed treatment paradigms in medical oncology. Understanding the best strategies to unleash a pre-existing immune response or to induce an efficient immune response against tumors has emerged as a research priority. In this work, we focus on a novel target for cancer immunotherapy, the inhibitory receptor T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain 3 (TIM3). This narrative review describes TIM3 biology in different (tumor-infiltrating) immune cells, particularly in the immunosuppressive regulatory T cells and dysfunctional/exhausted cytotoxic T lymphocytes, but also in cells that confer innate immunity - natural killer and dendritic cells. We discuss the functional role of TIM3, its expression and its clinical significance in a variety of tumors, and confront the heterogeneous results emerging from different studies, including clinical trials of immunotherapy. Finally, this work summarizes the principal early-phase clinical trials exploring TIM3 blockade and discusses some future perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-379
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 18 2019


  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation/drug effects
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets/drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


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