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Cancer Res. 1992 Jun 15;52(12):3460-6.

Expression of class II major histocompatibility complex molecules correlates with human colon tumor vaccine efficacy.

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Organon Teknika, Biotechnology Research Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20850.


Vaccination of colon cancer patients with X-irradiated autologous tumor cells and Bacillus Calmette-Guérin results in a significant reduction in tumor recurrence. A study was undertaken to determine whether the expression of tumor-associated antigens, expression of major histocompatibility complex molecules, or the cellular composition of the vaccine cells correlates with vaccine efficacy. A significant increase in the percentage of histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecule-expressing tumor cells was the only marker with a positive correlation. Because HLA class II molecule expression is not a prognostic marker in control patients, it was hypothesized that HLA class II molecules are involved in the induction of tumor immunity in patients treated with the autologous colon tumor vaccine. Enhancement of HLA class II molecule-expressing cells could be induced in X-irradiated colon tumor cells injected into the skin of mice when the cells were mixed with gamma-interferon. Therefore, addition of gamma-interferon to the colon tumor vaccine, resulting in increased numbers of HLA class II molecule-expressing cells, could potentiate the generation of tumor immunity.

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