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CD137(4-1BB) costimulation and adoptive T cell therapy strongly synergize in terms of achieving maximal efficacy against experimental cancers. These costimulatory biological functions of CD137 have been exploited by means of introducing the CD137 signaling domain in clinically successful chimeric antigen receptors and to more efficiently expand T cells in culture. In addition, immunomagnetic sorting of CD137-positive T cells among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes selects for the fittest antitumor T lymphocytes for subsequent cultures. In mouse models, co-infusion of both agonist antibodies and T cells attains marked synergistic effects that result from more focused and intense cytolytic activity visualized under in vivo microscopy and from more efficient entrance of T cells into the tumor through the vasculature. These several levels of dynamic interaction between adoptive T cell therapy and CD137 offer much opportunity to raise the efficacy of current cancer immunotherapies.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII

Publication Date





493 - 497


Department of Cell Biology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


T-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating, Animals, Humans, Neoplasms, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Immunotherapy, Adoptive, Combined Modality Therapy, Models, Immunological, Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9