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Int J Cancer. 1996 Jul 3;67(1):54-62.

Granulocyte-macrophage-colony-stimulating factor enhances immune responses to melanoma-associated peptides in vivo.

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II. Medizinische Klinik, Hämatologie-Onkologie, Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Peptide epitopes derived from differentiation antigens of the melanocyte lineage were recently identified in human melanomas as targets for MHC-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). The characterization of multiple CTL-defined antigenic determinants has opened possibilities of development of antigen-targeted vaccines. In the present study, we determined CTL reactivity against melanoma-associated peptides derived from Melan A/MART-1, tyrosinase, and gp100/Pmel17 in 3 HLA-A2+ melanoma patients. Then, we assessed the immune responses to synthetic melanoma-associated peptides injected intradermally. After 3 cycles of immunization with peptide alone, we used systemic GM-CSF as an adjuvant during the fourth cycle of immunization. Enhanced DTH reactions and CD8+ CTL responses were observed after treatment with systemic GM-CSF. Immunohistochemical characterization of DTH-constituting elements revealed infiltrates of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes and strong expression of IL-2 and gammaIFN, suggesting the activation of CD4+ ThI and CD8+ CTL by peptides presented by MHC-class-I molecules of dermal APC. Objective tumor regression was documented in all patients. We conclude that systemic GM-CSF enhances immune responses to melanoma-associated peptides and supports CTL-mediated tumor rejection in vivo.

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