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Gene Ther. 2002 Jul;9(13):833-43.

Generating p53-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes by recombinant adenoviral vector-based vaccination in mice, but not man.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany.


Mutations and aberrant expression of the p53 tumor suppressor protein are the most frequent molecular alterations in human malignancy. Peptides derived from the wild-type (wt) p53 protein and presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules for T lymphocyte recognition are believed to serve as universal tumor-associated antigens for cancer immunotherapy. We studied the immunogeneicity of a recombinant replication-defective adenoviral vector encoding human full-length wt p53 (rAd/hup53) in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A2K(b)-transgenic (Tg) mice and man. The generation of p53 epitope-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in p53-proficient and p53-deficient A2K(b)-Tg mice was affected by self-tolerance and a selective inability of rAd/hup53 to induce p53.264-272 peptide-reactive effector cells. To extend this study into a pilot clinical trial, six advanced-stage cancer patients received sequential injections of rAd/hup53. The treatment was well tolerated. To date, no evidence for objective tumor responses was observed. An amplification of humoral and cellular anti-adenoviral immune responses was demonstrated in all patients following rAd/hup53 vaccination. However, p53-reactive antibodies and HLA-A*0201 (A2.1)-restricted CTLs specific for wt p53 epitopes were not generated. Tailoring p53-based cancer immunotherapy thus requires the interference with p53-specific self-tolerance and the induction of the entire repertoire of p53-reactive T lymphocytes.

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