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Blood. 2001 Nov 15;98(10):2887-93.

Direct evidence that leukemic cells present HLA-associated immunogenic peptides derived from the BCR-ABL b3a2 fusion protein.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry and Physics, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


The BCR-ABL oncogene is central in the pathogenesis of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Here, tandem nanospray mass spectrometry was used to demonstrate cell surface HLA-associated expression of the BCR-ABL peptide KQSSKALQR on class I-negative CML cells transfected with HLA-A*0301, and on primary CML cells from HLA-A3-positive patients. These patients mounted a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response to KQSSKALQR that also killed autologous CML cells, and tetramer staining demonstrated the presence of circulating KQSSKALQR-specific T cells. The findings are the first demonstration that CML cells express HLA-associated leukemia-specific immunogenic peptides and provide a sound basis for immunization studies against BCR-ABL.

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