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J Immunol. 1998 May 1;160(9):4449-56.

Enhancement of tumor outgrowth through CTL tolerization after peptide vaccination is avoided by peptide presentation on dendritic cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunohematology and Blood Bank, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


Synthetic peptide-based vaccines have been shown to induce potent protective and therapeutic T cell-mediated immunity in preclinical animal models and are now being evaluated in clinical phase I/II studies for their efficacy against tumors or infectious diseases. However, such vaccines might also specifically tolerize T cells causing enhanced tumor outgrowth, as shown by vaccination with two CTL epitopes derived from the adenovirus type 5 early region 1 (Ad5E1) oncogenes. We now report that modification of the Ad5E1 peptide vaccine either through incorporation of the peptides into liposomes or by ligation of the peptides to lipid tails, another vaccine formulation being tested in the clinic, fails to convert immunosuppression into effective antitumor vaccination. Inclusion of a helper T cell epitope into the vaccine likewise induces enhanced tumor outgrowth and thus does not diminish the capacity of the peptides to tolerize Ad5E1-specific CTL. In contrast, the Ad5E1-derived peptides evoke a strong tumor-protective CTL response when presented on dendritic cells (DC), indicating that the in vivo CTL-tolerizing potential of these peptides is converted to specific immunostimulation when presented on DC. These findings have important implications for the development of peptide-based immune intervention strategies and emphasize the superior nature of Ag-pulsed DC over other peptide-based vaccination protocols as well as the crucial importance of the mode of peptide-Ag delivery in setting the balance between T cell stimulation and tolerization.

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