Obesity and CD8 T cell metabolism: Implications for anti-tumor immunity and cancer immunotherapy outcomes

Academic Article


  • Obesity is an established risk factor for many cancers and has recently been found to alter the efficacy of T cell–based immunotherapies. Currently, however, the effects of obesity on immunometabolism remain unclear. Understanding these associations is critical, given the fact that T cell metabolism is tightly linked to effector function. Thus, any obesity-associated changes in T cell bioenergetics are likely to drive functional changes at the cellular level, alter the metabolome and cytokine/chemokine milieu, and impact cancer immunotherapy outcomes. Here, we provide a brief overview of T cell metabolism in the presence and absence of solid tumor growth and summarize current literature regarding obesity-associated changes in T cell function and bioenergetics. We also discuss recent findings related to the impact of host obesity on cancer immunotherapy outcomes and present potential mechanisms by which T cell metabolism may influence therapeutic efficacy. Finally, we describe promising pharmaceutical therapies that are being investigated for their ability to improve CD8 T cell metabolism and enhance cancer immunotherapy outcomes in patients, regardless of their obesity status.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Turbitt WJ; Buchta Rosean C; Weber KS; Norian LA
  • Start Page

  • 203
  • End Page

  • 219
  • Volume

  • 295
  • Issue

  • 1