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J Immunol. 2006 Jul 1;177(1):255-67.

Accumulation of CD8+ T cells in advanced-stage tumors and delay of disease progression following secondary immunization against an immunorecessive epitope.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


Self-reactive T cells that survive the process of positive and negative selection during thymocyte development represent potential effector cells against tumors that express these same self-Ags. We have previously shown that CD8+ T lymphocytes (T(CD8)) specific for an immunorecessive epitope, designated epitope V, from the SV40 large T Ag (Tag) escape thymic deletion in line SV11 Tag-transgenic mice. In contrast, these mice are tolerant to the three most dominant Tag epitopes. The majority of the residual epitope V-specific T(CD8) have a low avidity for the target epitope, but a prime/boost regimen can expand higher avidity clones in vivo. Whether higher avidity T(CD8) targeting this epitope are affected by Tag-expressing tumors in the periphery or can be recruited for control of tumor progression remains unknown. In the current study, we determined the fate of naive TCR-transgenic T(CD8) specific for Tag epitope V (TCR-V cells) following transfer into SV11 mice bearing advanced-stage choroid plexus tumors. The results indicate that TCR-V cells are rapidly triggered by the endogenous Tag and acquire effector function, but fail to accumulate within the tumors. Primary immunization enhanced TCR-V cell frequency in the periphery and promoted entry into the brain, but a subsequent booster immunization caused a dramatic accumulation of TCR-V T cells within the tumors and inhibited tumor progression. These results indicate that epitope V provides a target for CD8+ T cells against spontaneous tumors in vivo, and suggests that epitopes with similar properties can be harnessed for tumor immunotherapy.

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