Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin inhibits CD8+ T cell-mediated killing of cancer cells in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Edda Blümel
  • Shamaila Munir Ahmad
  • Claudia Nastasi
  • Andreas Willerslev-Olsen
  • Simon Fredholm
  • Tengpeng Hu
  • Bas G.J. Surewaard
  • Lise M. Lindahl
  • Hanne Fogh
  • Sergei B. Koralov
  • Rachael A. Clark
  • Lars Iversen
  • Thorbjørn Krejsgaard
  • Jürgen C. Becker

Staphylococcus aureus and its toxins have been linked to disease progression and mortality in advanced stages of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). CD8+ T cells play a crucial role in anti-cancer responses and high CD8+ T cell numbers in tumor lesions are associated with a favorable prognosis in CTCL. Here, we show that CD8+ T cells from both healthy donors and Sézary syndrome patients are highly susceptible to cell death induced by Staphylococcal alpha-toxin, whereas malignant T cells are not. Importantly, alpha-toxin almost completely blocks cytotoxic killing of CTCL tumor cells by peptide-specific CD8+ T cells, leading to their escape from induced cell death and continued proliferation. These findings suggest that alpha-toxin may favor the persistence of malignant CTCL cells in vivo by inhibiting CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity. Thus, we propose a novel mechanism by which colonization with Staphylococcus aureus may contribute to cancer immune evasion and disease progression in CTCL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1751561
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Alpha-toxin, CD8 T cells, CTCL, cytotoxicity, Staphylococcus aureus

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 243011886