Reactive Oxygen Species Regulate T Cell Immune Response in the Tumor Microenvironment

Xinfeng Chen, Mengjia Song, Bin Zhang*, Yi Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by cellular metabolism play an important role as signaling messengers in immune system. ROS elevated in the tumor microenvironment are associated with tumor-induced immunosuppression. T cell-based therapy has been recently approved to be effective for cancer treatment. However, T cells often become dysfunctional after reaching the tumor site. It has been reported that ROS participate extensively in T cells activation, apoptosis, and hyporesponsiveness. The sensitivity of T cells to ROS varies among different subsets. ROS can be regulated by cytokines, amino acid metabolism, and enzymatic activity. Immunosuppressive cells accumulate in the tumor microenvironment and induce apoptosis and functional suppression of T cells by producing ROS. Thus, modulating the level of ROS may be important to prolong survival of T cells and enhance their antitumor function. Combining T cell-based therapy with antioxidant treatment such as administration of ROS scavenger should be considered as a promising strategy in cancer treatment, aiming to improve antitumor T cells immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1580967
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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