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Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2018 Feb;33(1):25-31. doi: 10.1089/cbr.2017.2369.

Astragalus Saponins and Liposome Constitute an Efficacious Adjuvant Formulation for Cancer Vaccines.

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1 Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Gansu University of Chinese Medicine , Lanzhou, China .
2 Affiliated Hospital, Gansu University of Chinese Medicine , Lanzhou, China .
3 Department of Ultrasound, The Second Hospital of Lanzhou University , Lanzhou, China .
4 Department of Radiotherapy, Tumor Hospital of Gansu Province , Lanzhou, China .
5 Department of Oncology, The First Hospital of Lanzhou University , Lanzhou, China .


Cancer vaccines mostly aim to induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) against tumors. An appropriate adjuvant is of fundamental importance for inducing cellular immune response. Since the antigen in particulate form is substantially more immunogenic than soluble form antigen, it is beneficial to interact with antigen-presenting cells membrane to induce robust CD8+ T cell activation following vaccination. Based on previous research, we designed an adjuvant formulation by combining Astragalus saponins, cholesterol, and liposome to incorporate antigen into a particulate delivery system, so as to enhance cellular immune response. Meanwhile, angiogenesis contributes to tumor growth and metastasis, and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is involved in tumor angiogenesis. Therefore, using lipo-saponins adjuvant formulation and a human recombinant bFGF antigen protein, we tried to induce bFGF-specific CTL response to inhibit tumor angiogenesis to achieve antitumor activity. After five immunizations, the lipo-saponins/bFGF complex elicited robust antibody response and markedly higher amount of interferon-γ in BALB/c mice, resulting in superior antitumor activities. Decreased microvessel density in CD31 immunohistochemistry and the lysis of vascular endothelial cells by the T lymphocytes from the immunized mice indicated that the immunity inhibited the angiogenesis of tumors and further led to the inhibition of tumors. Our data suggest that the approach to construct adjuvant formulation between liposome and Astragalus saponins appeared highly desirable, and that Astragalus saponins may be utilized as a valuable additive for enhancing the effectiveness of vaccines and stimulating an appropriate immune response that can benefit tumor therapy.


Astragalus saponins; adjuvant formulation; tumor vaccine

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