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Cancer Res. 1999 Jul 1;59(13):3064-7.

Alpha-fetoprotein-specific genetic immunotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Division of Surgical Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, 90095-1782, USA.


The majority of human hepatocellular carcinomas overexpress alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). Two genetic immunization strategies were used to determine whether AFP could serve as a target for T-cell immune responses. Dendritic cells engineered to express AFP produced potent T-cell responses in mice, as evidenced by the generation of AFP-specific CTLs, cytokine-producing T cells, and protective immunity. AFP plasmid-based immunization generated less potent responses. These novel observations demonstrate that this oncofetal antigen can serve as an effective tumor rejection antigen. This provides a rational, gene therapy-based strategy for this disease, which is responsible for the largest number of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

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