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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1992;34(6):419-23.

Cytotoxic T cell lines recognize autologous and allogeneic melanomas with shared or cross-reactive HLA-A.

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  • 1John Wayne Institute For Cancer Treatment and Research, Santa Monica, CA 90404.


Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), CD3+, alpha/beta T-cell-receptor-positive, are important effector cells with specific immunity in melanoma patients. The establishment and expansion in vitro of CTL of a specific phenotype to tumor cells strongly depends on the method of activation and sensitization with tumor cells. We generated CD3+ CTL lines to melanoma by co-culturing peripheral blood lymphocytes with autologous irradiated melanoma cells and repetitive stimulation with high-dose interleukin-4 in a "cocktail" culture medium. CTL lines were investigated for their specificity to kill autologous and allogeneic melanoma. Histocompatibility locus antigen (HLA) class I (A, B) molecules are important restrictive recognition antigens for CTL. Although these antigens are highly polymorphic, they can share a similar immunogenic molecular epitope(s) and can be immunologically cross-reactive. The CTL lines generated were found to kill not only autologous melanoma, but also allogeneic melanomas having class I HLA-A antigens shared or "cross-reactive" with autologous HLA-A. These CTL lines were poor killers of melanomas bearing non-shared or non-cross-reactive HLA-A. Cold-target inhibition assays demonstrated this CTL cross-reactivity to allogeneic melanoma specificity. Epstein-Barr-virus-transformed autologous and allogeneic B lymphoblastoid cell lines failed to block autologous melanoma killing, indicating that CTL were not recognizing major histocompatibility complex antigens, serum proteins or culture medium products as the primary target antigen. HLA-A2 was the major shared HLA-A antigen recognized by CTL lines on the melanoma lines studied. CTL lines also recognized shared HLA-A11 and A24 on allogeneic melanoma. There were no CTL lines showing restriction to HLA-B. These results suggest that common tumor-associated antigens are present on melanomas and are recognized in association with distinct HLA-A epitopes by CTL.

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