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J Invest Dermatol. 1998 Dec;111(6):1034-9.

Anti-tyrosinase-related protein-2 immune response in vitiligo patients and melanoma patients receiving active-specific immunotherapy.

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Department of Molecular Oncology, John Wayne Cancer Institute, Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, California 90404, USA.


Several melanosome glycoproteins have been shown to be antigenic in humans. Correlation of antigen-specific immune responses in patients with the autoimmune disease vitiligo, therapy-induced hypopigmentation, and cutaneous melanoma has not been well studied. We examined antibody responses to a melanocyte autoantigen, tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2), as it is highly expressed in cutaneous melanoma and melanocytes. TRP-2 recombinant protein was synthesized for western blot and affinity anti-TRP-2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We demonstrated that patients with malignant melanoma, vitiligo, and active-specific immunotherapy-induced depigmentation had significant anti-TRP-2 IgG titers. The highest level of anti-TRP-2 IgG response was found in vitiligo patients. Induction and enhancement of anti-TRP-2 IgG responses were observed in melanoma patients treated with a polyvalent melanoma cell vaccine containing TRP-2. Active-specific immunotherapy could induce and/or augment the TRP-2 IgG antibody titers. Melanoma patients who developed hypopigmentation and had improved survival after polyvalent melanoma cell vaccine had significantly augmented anti-TRP-2 antibody responses compared with patients with poor prognosis. This study demonstrates that TRP-2 autoantigen is immunogenic in humans. TRP-2 antibody responses provide a linkage between autoimmune responses by vitiligo patients and melanoma patients responding to immunotherapy who have induced hypopigmentation.

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