MRI of tumor T cell infiltration in response to checkpoint inhibitor therapy.


Immune checkpoint inhibitors, the most widespread class of immunotherapies, have demonstrated unique response patterns that are not always adequately captured by traditional response criteria such as the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors or even immune-specific response criteria. These response metrics rely on monitoring tumor growth, but an increase in tumor size and/or appearance after starting immunotherapy does not always represent tumor progression, but also can be a result of T cell infiltration and thus positive treatment response. Therefore, non-invasive and longitudinal monitoring of T cell infiltration are needed to assess the effects of immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors. Here, we proposed an innovative concept that a sufficiently large influx of tumor infiltrating T cells, which have a smaller diameter than cancer cells, will change the diameter distribution and decrease the average size of cells within a volume to a degree that can be quantified by non-invasive MRI.