Purpose: T-cell immunoglobulin and immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) domain (TIGIT) is a recently identified T-cell coinhibitory receptor. In this study, we aimed to determine the clinical impact of TIGIT in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and dissect the role of TIGIT in the pathogenesis of leukemia progression. Experimental Design: TIGIT expression on T cells from peripheral blood collected from patients with AML was examined by flow cytometry. The correlation of TIGIT expression to clinical outcomes, including rate of complete remission and relapse post-allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) in AML patients, was analyzed. Phenotypic and functional study (cytokine release, proliferation, killing, and apoptosis) of TIGIT-expressing T cells were performed. Using siRNA to silence TIGIT, we further elucidated the regulatory role of TIGIT in the T-cell immune response by dissecting the effect of TIGIT knockdown on cytokine release and apoptosis of T cells from AML patients. Results: TIGIT expression on CD8+ T cells is elevated in AML patients and high-TIGIT correlates with primary refractory disease and leukemia relapse post-alloSCT. TIGIT+ CD8+ T cells display phenotypic features of exhaustion and exhibit functional impairment manifested by low production of cytokines and high susceptibility to apoptosis. Importantly, their functional defects are reversed by TIGIT knockdown. Conclusions: TIGIT contributes to functional T-cell impairment and associates with poor clinical outcome in AML. Our study suggests that blockade of TIGIT to restore T-cell function and antitumor immunity may represent a novel effective leukemia therapeutic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3057-3066
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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