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Blood. 1997 Nov 1;90(9):3699-706.

Idiotype vaccines for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma induce polyclonal immune responses that cover mutated tumor idiotypes: comparison of different vaccine formulations.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5306, USA.


The idiotype (Id) of the Ig expressed on the surface of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells is a suitable target for immunotherapy. Indeed, treatment with monoclonal anti-Id antibodies (Abs) can induce long-lasting clinical remissions. However, some of the treated patients relapse with a tumor expressing Ig with point mutations in the idio recognized by the particular monoclonal antibody (MoAb). The alternative approach of active immunization with tumor Id can cure the disease in mice with established tumors and is now being studied in clinical trials. Here, we tested the hypothesis that active immunization with the idiotype would evoke a polyclonal immune response that would cover mutated tumor variants. As a test system, we chose the tumor from a patient who had achieved a complete remission after therapy with anti-Id Ab but subsequently relapsed with a mutated tumor variant no longer binding the treatment Ab. Mice were immunized with proteins and genetic vaccines derived from the original tumor, including (1) Id-keyhole limpet hemocyanin protein, (2) Id single-chain variable fragment (scFv) granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) protein, (3) DNA encoding the Id, and (4) an adenovirus encoding the Id. All immunized mice developed a specific immune response detecting tumor-derived Id proteins from the original tumor and from all tumor variants. We conclude that active immunization with tumor Id can induce a polyclonal immune response and therefore may prevent the escape of mutated tumor variants.

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