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Cancer Res. 1998 Jun 15;58(12):2509-14.

Genetic vaccination against the melanocyte lineage-specific antigen gp100 induces cytotoxic T lymphocyte-mediated tumor protection.

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Department of Tumor Immunology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, The Netherlands.


Melanocyte lineage-specific antigens, such as gp100, have been shown to induce both cellular and humoral immune responses against melanoma. Therefore, these antigens are potential targets for specific antimelanoma immunotherapy. A novel approach to induce both cellular and humoral immunity is genetic vaccination, the injection of antigen-encoding naked plasmid DNA. In a mouse model, we investigated whether genetic vaccination against the human gp100 antigen results in specific antitumor immunity. The results demonstrate that vaccinated mice were protected against a lethal challenge with syngeneic B16 melanoma-expressing human gp100, but not control-transfected B16. Both cytotoxic T cells and IgG specific for human gp100 could be detected in human gp100-vaccinated mice. However, only adoptive transfer of spleen-derived lymphocytes, not of the serum, isolated from protected mice was able to transfer antitumor immunity to nonvaccinated recipients, indicating that CTLs are the predominant effector cells. CTI, lines generated from human gp100-vaccinated mice specifically recognized human gp100. Interestingly, one of the CTL lines cross-reacted between human and mouse gp100, indicating the recognition of a conserved epitope. However, these CTLs did not appear to be involved in the observed tumor protection. Collectively, our results indicate that genetic vaccination can result in a potent antitumor response in vivo and constitutes a potential immunotherapeutic strategy to fight cancer.

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