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J Exp Med. 2004 Aug 2;200(3):297-306.

Mesothelin-specific CD8(+) T cell responses provide evidence of in vivo cross-priming by antigen-presenting cells in vaccinated pancreatic cancer patients.

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Department of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, The Bunting-Blaustein Cancer Research Bldg., Rm. 4M07, 1650 Orleans St., Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells can potentially be activated by two distinct mechanisms of major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted antigen presentation as follows: direct presentation by tumor cells themselves or indirect presentation by professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs). However, controversy still exists as to whether indirect presentation (the cross-priming mechanism) can contribute to effective in vivo priming of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells that are capable of eradicating cancer in patients. A clinical trial of vaccination with granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor-transduced pancreatic cancer lines was designed to test whether cross-presentation by locally recruited APCs can activate pancreatic tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells. Previously, we reported postvaccination delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to autologous tumor in 3 out of 14 treated patients. Mesothelin is an antigen demonstrated previously by gene expression profiling to be up-regulated in most pancreatic cancers. We report here the consistent induction of CD8(+) T cell responses to multiple HLA-A2, A3, and A24-restricted mesothelin epitopes exclusively in the three patients with vaccine-induced DTH responses. Importantly, neither of the vaccinating pancreatic cancer cell lines expressed HLA-A2, A3, or A24. These results provide the first direct evidence that CD8 T cell responses can be generated via cross-presentation by an immunotherapy approach designed to recruit APCs to the vaccination site.

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