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Clin Immunol. 2013 Oct;149(1):55-64. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Medulloblastoma expresses CD1d and can be targeted for immunotherapy with NKT cells.

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Texas Children's Cancer Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood. Current therapies are toxic and not always curative that necessitates development of targeted immunotherapy. However, little is known about immunobiology of this tumor. In this study, we show that MB cells in 9 of 20 primary tumors express CD1d, an antigen-presenting molecule for Natural Killer T cells (NKTs). Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of 61 primary tumors revealed an elevated level of CD1d mRNA expression in a molecular subgroup characterized by an overactivation of Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) oncogene compared with Group 4. CD1d-positive MB cells cross-presented glycolipid antigens to activate NKT-cell cytotoxicity. Intracranial injection of NKTs resulted in regression of orthotopic MB xenografts in NOD/SCID mice. Importantly, the numbers and function of peripheral blood type-I NKTs were preserved in MB patients. Therefore, CD1d is expressed on tumor cells in a subset of MB patients and represents a novel target for immunotherapy.


Brain tumors; CD1d; Cellular immunotherapy; Medulloblastoma; NKT cells

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