Tumor microenvironment metabolites directing T cell differentiation and function

Xia Liu, Daniel F. Hoft, Guangyong Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells creates a unique tumor microenvironment (TME) characterized by the limited availability of nutrients, which subsequently affects the metabolism, differentiation, and function of tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TILs). TILs can also be inhibited by tumor-derived metabolic waste products and low oxygen. Therefore, a thorough understanding of how such unique metabolites influence mammalian T cell differentiation and function can inform novel anticancer therapeutic approaches. Here, we highlight the importance of these metabolites in modulating various T cell subsets within the TME, dissecting how these changes might alter clinical outcomes. We explore potential TME metabolic determinants that might constitute candidate targets for cancer immunotherapies, ideally leading to future strategies for reprogramming tumor metabolism to potentiate anticancer T cell functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-147
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • T cells
  • metabolic reprogramming
  • metabolites
  • tumor immunotherapy
  • tumor microenvironment


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