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Int J Cancer. 1999 Jul 30;82(3):442-8.

Interleukin-2-induced, melanoma-specific T cells recognize CAMEL, an unexpected translation product of LAGE-1.

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1
Department of Clinical Oncology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Melanoma-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were induced by in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of a melanoma patient with autologous IL-2-producing melanoma 518/IL2.14 cells. CTL clone 1/29 recognized, in addition to autologous melanoma cell lines, a panel of HLA-A*0201-expressing allogeneic melanoma cell lines but was not reactive with normal melanocytes. Here, we report the full molecular characterization of the target structure for CTL 1/29, which was identified by cDNA expression cloning. The recognized antigen was named CAMEL (CTL-recognized antigen on melanoma). The CAMEL cDNA turned out to be derived from the LAGE-1 gene, a recently described tumor antigen that is strongly homologous to NY-ESO-1. CAMEL, however, is not encoded by the putative open reading frame (ORF) of LAGE-1 but by an alternative frame starting from the second ATG of the mRNA. The first 11 amino acids of the CAMEL protein, MLMAQEALAFL, constitute the epitope of CTL 1/29. This epitope is also encoded by a similar alternative ORF in NY-ESO-1. In summary, CTL induction with IL-2-transfected melanoma cells has revealed a new tumor antigen that may serve as a target for immunotherapy.

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