The thymus is a hormone-sensitive organ, which involutes with age in response to production of sex steroids. Thymic involution leads to a decrease in the generation of recent thymic emigrants (RTEs), resulting in a reduced response to immune challenges such as cancer. Interestingly, the standard of care for prostate cancer patients is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which leads to thymic regeneration and an increase in thymic output. It remains unknown whether these newly produced T cells can contribute to the antitumor immune response. This study defines the kinetics of thymic regeneration in response to ADT in mice, determining that thymic epithelial cell proliferation is critical for the increase in RTE output. Using a mouse model to track RTE in vivo, we demonstrate that these newly generated RTEs can traffic to tumors, where they become activated and produce effector cytokines at levels similar to more mature T cells. Collectively, these data suggest that RTEs produced from ADT-induced thymic regeneration could be harnessed for the antitumor immune response.

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