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J Immunol. 2001 Mar 1;166(5):3564-73.

Immunosensitization of melanoma tumor cells to non-MHC Fas-mediated killing by MART-1-specific CTL cultures.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The discovery of human melanoma rejection Ags has allowed the rational design of immunotherapeutic strategies. One such Ag, MART-1, is expressed on >90% of human melanomas, and CTL generated against MART-1(27-35) kill most HLA A2.1(+) melanoma cells. However, variant tumor cells, which do not express MART-1, down-regulate MHC, or become resistant to apoptosis, will escape killing. Cytotoxic lymphocytes kill by two main mechanisms, the perforin/granzyme degranulation pathway and the TNF/Fas/TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand superfamily of apoptosis-inducing ligands. In this study, we examined whether cis-diaminedichloroplatinum (II) cisplatin (CDDP) sensitizes MART-1/HLA A2.1(+) melanoma and melanoma variant tumor cells to non-MHC-restricted, Fas ligand (FasL)-mediated killing by CTL. MART-1(27-35)-specific bulk CTL cultures were generated by pulsing normal PBL with MART-1(27-35) peptide. These CTL cultures specifically kill M202 melanoma cells (MART-1(+), HLA A2.1(+), FasR(-)), and MART-1(27-35) peptide-pulsed T2 cells (FasR(+)), but not M207 melanoma cells (MART-1(+), HLA A2.1(-), FasR(-)), FLU(58-66) peptide-pulsed T2 cells, or DU145 and PC-3 prostate cells (MART-1(-), HLA A2.1(-), FasR(+)). CDDP (0.1-10 microg/ml) sensitized non-MART-1(27-35) peptide-pulsed T2 to the CD8(+) subset of bulk MART-1-specific CTL, and killing was abolished by neutralizing anti-Fas Ab. Furthermore, CDDP up-regulated FasR expression and FasL-mediated killing of M202, and sensitized PC-3 and DU145 to killing by bulk MART-1-specific CTL cultures. These findings demonstrate that drug-mediated sensitization can potentiate FasL-mediated killing by MHC-restricted CTL cell lines, independent of MHC and MART-1 expression on tumor cells. This represents a novel approach for potentially controlling tumor cell variants found in primary heterogeneous melanoma tumor cell populations that would normally escape killing by MART-1-specific immunotherapy.

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