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Eur J Immunol. 1993 Nov;23(11):2770-6.

Tumors with reduced expression of a cytotoxic T lymphocyte recognized antigen lack immunogenicity but retain sensitivity to lysis by cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

Author information

1
University of Chicago, Department of Pathology, IL 60637.

Abstract

A murine solid tumor was transfected to express various levels of an allogeneic major histocompatibility complex class I gene (K216), in order to test the effect of the level of antigen expression on immunogenicity and sensitivity to lysis by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). The growth rates of clones of tumor cells expressing different levels of the transfected gene were similar in vitro and in nude mice. Although all tumor cells, including cells freshly isolated from growing tumors, were equally sensitive to lysis by specific CTL, only tumor cells expressing the highest level of the K216 antigen stimulated CTL and were rejected by normal mice. In contrast, tumor cells expressing lower levels of antigen failed to immunize for CTL and grew progressively in normal mice, despite retaining expression of the transfected gene and remaining fully sensitive to CTL-mediated lysis; thus, the threshold of antigen needed to stimulate CTL responses was considerably higher than that needed to lyse tumor cells. Reduction of K216 antigen expression from 100-fold to 40-fold above background, impaired significantly the ability of the tumor cells to induce a K216-specific immune response, while tumor cells expressing K216 at levels 2-fold above background were as susceptible to CTL-mediated lysis as tumor cells expressing 50-fold more antigen. The important implication of these findings is that some tumors occurring in nature may not be immunogenic but nevertheless express antigens which are potential targets for immune therapy.

PMID:
8223853
DOI:
10.1002/eji.1830231108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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