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Int J Cancer. 2005 Jun 10;115(2):333-6.

Identification of a new HLA-A*0201-restricted cryptic epitope from CYP1B1.

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Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) was recently shown to be a candidate tumor antigen broadly expressed in solid and hematologic malignancies. Nevertheless, use of such self-antigens as targets for immune intervention can be limited because of loss of high-avidity T cells during negative selection in the thymus. Recent data suggest that targeting of cryptic epitopes may represent a way to circumvent such self-tolerance and induce efficient antitumor CTL responses. Here, we present the identification and characterization of a novel, cryptic HLA-A*0201-binding peptide from CYP1B1. The nanomer CYP246 was identified by epitope deduction using algorithms to predict HLA-A*0201-binding peptides. CYP246 is characterized by strong initial HLA-A*0201 binding but a short MHC/peptide binding half-life. Expansion of high-avidity CTL was readily possible using autologous CD40-activated B cells from normal donors and cancer patients as antigen-presenting cells, suggesting that an intact T-cell repertoire can be expanded for this epitope. Lysis of CYP1B1-expressing, HLA-A*0201+ tumor cell lines and primary tumor cells confirmed that sufficient levels of CYP246 are presented by tumor cells for effector CTL killing. These findings indicate that CYP246 is a candidate cryptic epitope for immune interventions in which tumor CYP1B1 is targeted.

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