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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Dec 15;9(17):6523-33.

Full-length dominant-negative survivin for cancer immunotherapy.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center Eppley Cancer Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.



The goal of this study is to investigate the possible utility of dendritic cells (DCs) transduced with the human full-length dominant-negative survivin for cancer immunotherapy.


Mononuclear cells were collected from HLA-A2-positive healthy volunteers and patients with prostate cancer. DCs were transduced with an adenoviral vector containing a full-length, dominant-negative survivin gene. After three rounds of stimulation, the T-cell response against three different survivin-derived HLA-A2-matching peptides was tested in IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot and CTL assays.


Seven of eight healthy volunteers and cancer patients showed a significant response to at least two different survivin-derived epitopes in the enzyme-linked immunospot assay. One patient responded to only one peptide. All four healthy volunteers and two of three patients tested demonstrated a specific CTL response against T2 target cells loaded with one survivin-derived epitope. Two donors and two patients had a significant CTL response against two different epitopes. Significant cytotoxic activity was seen against HLA-A2-positive MCF-7 tumor cells that express survivin. That response was specific for survivin and was MHC class I restricted. Because survivin is expressed in CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), we tested whether the antisurvivin CTLs can recognize normal HPCs. The incubation of survivin-specific CTLs with CD34(+) cells did not significantly decrease the colony-forming ability of HPCs.


DCs transduced with dominant-negative survivin induce potent survivin-specific CTL responses able to recognize and kill tumor cells. This response does not significantly affect HPCs. Thus, this study may provide rationale for immunotherapeutic clinical trials using a DC vaccine transduced with the dominant-negative survivin.

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