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Autoimmun Rev. 2009 Sep;9(1):28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2009.02.034. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

Autoimmune thyroiditis as an indicator of autoimmune sequelae during cancer immunotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Improving cancer immunotherapy by targeting T cell network also triggers autoimmunity. We disrupted regulatory T cell (Treg) function to probe the balance between breast cancer vaccination and autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) in four models, with particular attention to MHC-associated susceptibility, EAT induction with mouse thyroglobulin (mTg) without adjuvant, and tolerance to Her-2/neu in transgenic mice. 1) In EAT-resistant BALB/c mice, Treg depletion enhanced tumor regression, and facilitated mild thyroiditis induction. 2) In Her-2 tolerant C57BL/6 mice expressing HLA-DR3, an EAT-susceptibility allele, Her-2 DNA vaccinations must follow Treg depletion for (Her-2xDR3)F(1) mice to resist tumor challenge; thyroiditis incidence was moderated by the EAT-resistant IA(b) allele. 3) In neu tolerant, EAT-resistant BALB/c mice, implanted neu(+) tumor also regressed only after Treg depletion and DNA vaccinations. Tumor immunity was long-term, providing protection from spontaneous tumorigenesis. In all three, immune stimuli from concurrent tumor regression and EAT development have a noticeable, mutually augmenting effect. 4) In Treg-depleted, EAT-susceptible CBA/J mice, strong tumor protection was established by immunization with a cell vaccine. mTg injections led to greater thyroiditis incidence and severity. Combination models with MHC class II diversity should facilitate autoimmunity risk assessment and management while generating tumor immunity.

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