The classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) environment is comprised of a dense and complex immune cell infiltrate interspersed with rare malignant Hodgkin-Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells. HRS cells are actively surveilled by endogenous T cells, but data linking phenotypic and functional T-cell states with clonality at the single-cell level in cHL is lacking. To address this knowledge gap, we performed paired single-cell RNA and T-cell receptor sequencing on 14 cHL and 5 reactive lymphoid tissue specimens. Conventional CD4+ T cells dominated the cHL landscape. However, recurrent clonal expansion within effector and exhausted CD8+ T-cell and regulatory T-cell clusters was uniquely observed in cHL specimens. Multiplex flow cytometric analysis revealed that most lymphoma-resident T cells produced effector cytokines upon ex vivo restimulation, arguing against a profound dysfunctional T-cell state in cHL. Our results raise new questions about the nature of T cells that mediate the antilymphoma response following programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) blockade therapy in cHL.

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