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J Immunol. 1999 May 15;162(10):5838-45.

Tumor antigens are constitutively presented in the draining lymph nodes.

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University Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Center, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia.


Tumor growth is rarely associated with a strong specific CTL response, suggesting that the immune system is ignorant of the presence of tumor because the Ags are not readily available to or are sequestered from potential effector cells. We studied the in vivo activation of naive TCR transgenic hemagglutinin (HA)-specific CD8+ T cells adoptively transferred into mice bearing HA-expressing tumor using 5,6-carboxy-succinimidyl-fluorescein-ester labeling, which allows the identification of proliferating HA-specific T cells. We demonstrate that tumor Ags are constitutively presented in the lymph nodes draining tumors and are powerfully mitogenic for responding T cells despite the absence of anti-tumor CTL responses. Importantly, this proliferative signal occurs throughout tumor growth and is still detectable 6 mo after tumor inoculation when tumor is not palpable. These results provide the first evidence that there is constitutive presentation of tumor Ags in draining lymph nodes.

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