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Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 1;72(5):1059-63. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3432. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Human T(H)17 immune cells specific for the tumor antigen MAGE-A3 convert to IFN-γ-secreting cells as they differentiate into effector T cells in vivo.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 1102, Institut de Cancérologie de l'Ouest, Saint Herblain, France.


The role of T(H)17 cells in cancer is being investigated, but the existence of tumor antigen-specific T(H)17 cells has yet to be ascertained. Here, we report the first description of a spontaneous T(H)17 (IL-17(+)) response to the important tumor antigen MAGE-A3, which occurred concurrently with a T(H)1 (IFN-γ(+)) response in a lung cancer patient. MAGE-A3-specific interleukin (IL)-17(+) T cells were mainly CCR7(+) central memory T cells, whereas IFN-γ(+) cells were enriched for CCR7(-) effector memory T cells. An assessment of the fine specificity of antigen recognition by these T cells indicated that the CCR6(+)CCR4(+) and CCR6(+)CXCR3(+) fractions contained the same T(H)17/T(H)1 population at early and late differentiation stages, respectively, whereas the CCR6(-)CXCR3(+) fraction contained a distinct T(H)1 population. These findings are important because they suggest a differentiation model in which tumor antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells that are primed under T(H)17 polarizing conditions will progressively convert into IFN-γ-secreting cells in vivo as they differentiate into effector T cells that can effectively attack tumors.

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