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Immunol Cell Biol. 2012 Jan;90(1):130-4. doi: 10.1038/icb.2011.11. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

Reinforcement of cancer immunotherapy by adoptive transfer of cblb-deficient CD8+ T cells combined with a DC vaccine.

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Tyrolean Cancer Research Institute, Innsbruck Medical University, Tyrol, Austria.


The success of cancer immunotherapy is limited by potent endogenous immune-evasion mechanisms, which are at least in part mediated by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). The E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b is a key regulator of T cell activation and is established to regulate TGF-β sensitivity. cblb-deficient animals reject tumors via CD8(+) T cells, which make Cbl-b an ideal target for improvement of adoptive T-cell transfer (ATC) therapy. In this study, we show that cblb-deficient CD8(+) T cells are hyper-responsive to T-cell receptor (TCR)/CD28-stimulation and are in part protected against the negative cues induced by TGF-β in vitro. Notably, adoptive transfer of polyclonal, non-TCR transgenic cblb-deficient CD8(+) T cells is not sufficient to reject B16-ova or EG7 tumors in vivo. Thus, cblb-deficient ATC requires proper in vivo re-activation by a dendritic cell (DC) vaccine. In strict contrast to ATC monotherapy, this approach delayed tumor outgrowth and significantly increased survival rates, which is paralleled by increased CD8(+) T-cells infiltration to the tumor site and enrichment of ova-specific and interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-secreting CD8(+) T cell in the draining lymph node (LN). Moreover, CD8(+) T cells from cblb-deficient mice vaccinated with the DC vaccine show increased cytolytic activity in vivo. In summary, our data using cblb-deficient polyclonal, non-TCR-transgenic adoptively transferred CD8(+) T cells into immuno-competent non-lymphodepleted recipients suggest that targeting Cbl-b might serve as a novel 'adjuvant approach', suitable to augment the effectiveness of established anti-cancer immunotherapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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