Despite repeated associations between T cell infiltration and outcome, human ovarian cancer remains poorly responsive to immunotherapy. We report that the hallmarks of tumor recognition in ovarian cancer-infiltrating T cells are primarily restricted to tissue-resident memory (TRM) cells. Single-cell RNA/TCR/ATAC sequencing of 83,454 CD3+CD8+CD103+CD69+ TRM cells and immunohistochemistry of 122 high-grade serous ovarian cancers shows that only progenitor (TCF1low) tissue-resident T cells (TRMstem cells), but not recirculating TCF1+ T cells, predict ovarian cancer outcome. TRMstem cells arise from transitional recirculating T cells, which depends on antigen affinity/persistence, resulting in oligoclonal, trogocytic, effector lymphocytes that eventually become exhausted. Therefore, ovarian cancer is indeed an immunogenic disease, but that depends on ∼13% of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating T cells (∼3% of CD8+ clonotypes), which are primed against high-affinity antigens and maintain waves of effector TRM-like cells. Our results define the signature of relevant tumor-reactive T cells in human ovarian cancer, which could be applicable to other tumors with unideal mutational burden.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- ovarian cancer
- tissue-resident memory-like T cell
- tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte