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J Exp Med. 2010 Mar 15;207(3):637-50. doi: 10.1084/jem.20091918. Epub 2010 Feb 15.

Tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells develop cytotoxic activity and eradicate large established melanoma after transfer into lymphopenic hosts.

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  • 1Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Abstract

Adoptive transfer of large numbers of tumor-reactive CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) expanded and differentiated in vitro has shown promising clinical activity against cancer. However, such protocols are complicated by extensive ex vivo manipulations of tumor-reactive cells and have largely focused on CD8(+) CTLs, with much less emphasis on the role and contribution of CD4(+) T cells. Using a mouse model of advanced melanoma, we found that transfer of small numbers of naive tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells into lymphopenic recipients induces substantial T cell expansion, differentiation, and regression of large established tumors without the need for in vitro manipulation. Surprisingly, CD4(+) T cells developed cytotoxic activity, and tumor rejection was dependent on class II-restricted recognition of tumors by tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells. Furthermore, blockade of the coinhibitory receptor CTL-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) on the transferred CD4(+) T cells resulted in greater expansion of effector T cells, diminished accumulation of tumor-reactive regulatory T cells, and superior antitumor activity capable of inducing regression of spontaneous mouse melanoma. These findings suggest a novel potential therapeutic role for cytotoxic CD4(+) T cells and CTLA-4 blockade in cancer immunotherapy, and demonstrate the potential advantages of differentiating tumor-reactive CD4(+) cells in vivo over current protocols favoring in vitro expansion and differentiation.

Comment in

PMID:
20156971
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2839156
Free PMC Article
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