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Int J Oncol. 2009 Mar;34(3):629-39.

The tumor antigens RHAMM and G250/CAIX are expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and elicit specific CD8+ T cell responses.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Despite advances in surgery, radio- and chemotherapy, therapeutic approaches for patients with head and neck squamous carcinoma (HNSCC) need to be improved. Immunotherapies eliciting tumor specific immune responses might constitute novel treatment options. We therefore investigated the expression and immunogenicity of two tumor-associated antigens (TAA) the receptor for hyaluronic acid mediated motility (RHAMM) and carboanhydrase IX (G250/CAIX) in HNSCC patients. Twenty-two HNSCC samples were examined for the expression of RHAMM and G250 by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, 14/22 samples were tested for HLA-A2 expression by flow cytometry. For 8/22 samples single tumor-cell suspensions were generated, and mixed lymphocyte peptide cultures (MLPC) were performed to evaluate the frequencies of cytotoxic T cells specifically recognizing RHAMM and G250 using Tetramer staining/multi-color flow cytometry and enzyme linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assays. RHAMM and G250 were expressed in 73 and 80% of the HNSCC samples at the protein level. A co-expression of both TAAs could be detected in 60% of the patients. In 4/8 HLA-A2+ patients, 0.06-0.13% of CD8+ effector T cells recognized Tetramers for RHAMM or G250 and secreted IFNgamma and granzyme B in ELISPOT assays. RHAMM and G250 are expressed at high frequency and high protein level in HNSCCs and are recognized by cytotoxic CD8+ effector T cells. Therefore both TAAs constitute interesting targets for T cell based immunotherapies for HNSCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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