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Nature. 2005 Sep 1;437(7055):141-6.

Sporadic immunogenic tumours avoid destruction by inducing T-cell tolerance.

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1
Institute of Immunology, Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

The recognition and elimination of tumours by T cells, a process termed cancer immunosurveillance, is effective against certain virus-associated cancers. Spontaneous tumours often induce a specific immune response and are therefore also immunogenic. However, it is not clear whether they can be controlled by T cells. The immunosurveillance hypothesis postulates that tumours, if they eventually grow, escaped T-cell recognition by losing immunogenicity. Here we show, by generating a mouse model of sporadic cancer based on rare spontaneous activation of a dormant oncogene, that immunogenic tumours do not escape their recognition but induce tolerance. In this model, tumours derive from single cells and express a tumour-specific transplantation rejection antigen. Whereas vaccinated mice remain tumour-free throughout their lifetime, naive mice always develop a progressively growing tumour. We also show that despite specific recognition by T cells, the tumours do not lose their intrinsic immunogenicity and are rejected after transplantation in T-cell-competent recipients. Furthermore, in the primary host tumour-induced tolerance is associated with the expansion of non-functional T cells. Together, our data argue against immunosurveillance of spontaneous cancer.

PMID:
16136144
DOI:
10.1038/nature03954
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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