B Cells and Tertiary Lymphoid Structures: Friends or Foes in Cancer Immunotherapy?

Martin Lauss, Marco Donia, Inge Marie Svane, Göran Jönsson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tumor cells pose a challenge to the adaptive immune system, and its key cell types, T and B cells, have frequently been associated with an improved prognosis. The success of immune checkpoint blockade has confirmed the relevance of T cells. However, the role of B cells is increasingly recognized, and highlighted in this review. Recent data suggest that tumors contain a diverse set of B cells reflecting different developmental states and exerting functions such as antigen presentation, antibody production, and regulatory effects. Further, B cells are frequently located in tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS), which are immune cell niches that sustain an immune response at sites of chronic inflammation. TLSs in tumors display substantial heterogeneity, ranging from cell aggregates to mature structures with an active germinal center. Recent studies have provided insights into initiation, cellular and spatial composition, and function of TLS in a variety of cancer types; however, several critical issues still need to be resolved. Currently, initial reports are discerning the role of TLSs in immunotherapy, with the majority of studies observing TLSs to confer favorable patient outcome. Finally, TLS induction in tumors is evaluated, with the therapeutic aim to reactivate the host immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1751-1758
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Immunology in the medical area


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