Graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects have been thought to mostly result from allogeneic transplants; however, there is a growing body of research that supports a possible autologous GVT effect. In early clinical studies, a positive correlation between lymphocyte count recovery after autologous transplantation and overall survival has been observed. However, mechanistic studies to identify the mediators of autologous GVT responses have been lacking. In this issue of the JCI, Vuckovic et al. observed a T cell–dependent autologous GVT effect in the Vk*MYC myeloma model. Moreover, the authors showed that CD8+ T cells mediate myeloma control through IFN-γ secretion, which could be further augmented with a CD137 agonist, suggesting a therapeutic approach for enhancing autologous GVT.
Shuai Dong, Irene M. Ghobrial