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Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Mar 1;19(5):1147-58. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2733. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

Measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells induce tumor antigen cross-presentation by human plasmacytoid dendritic cells.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale, UMR892, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR6299, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France.



Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are antigen-presenting cells specialized in antiviral response. The measles virus vaccine is proposed as an antitumor agent to target and specifically kill tumor cells without infecting healthy cells.


Here, we investigated, in vitro, the effects of measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells on the phenotype and functions of human pDC. We studied maturation and tumor antigen cross-presentation by pDC, exposed either to the virus alone, or to measles virus vaccine-infected or UV-irradiated tumor cells.


We found that only measles virus vaccine-infected cells induced pDC maturation with a strong production of IFN-α, whereas UV-irradiated tumor cells were unable to activate pDC. This IFN-α production was triggered by the interaction of measles virus vaccine single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) with TLR7. We observed that measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells were phagocytosed by pDC. Interestingly, we showed cross-presentation of the tumor antigen NYESO-1 to a specific CD8(+) T-cell clone when pDC were cocultured with measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells, whereas pDC were unable to cross-present NYESO-1 after coculture with UV-irradiated tumor cells.


Altogether, our results suggest that the use of measles virus vaccine in antitumor virotherapy induces immunogenic tumor cell death, allowing pDC to mature, produce high amounts of IFN-α, and cross-present tumor antigen, thus representing a mode of recruiting these antigen-presenting cells in the immune response. Clin Cancer Res; 19(5); 1147-58. ©2012 AACR.

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