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Cancer Res. 2004 Feb 1;64(3):1140-5.

PD-L1/B7H-1 inhibits the effector phase of tumor rejection by T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic CD8+ T cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Section of Hematology/Oncology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Although increased circulating tumor antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells can be achieved by vaccination or adoptive transfer, tumor progression nonetheless often occurs through resistance to effector function. To develop a model for identifying mechanisms of resistance to antigen-specific CTLs, poorly immunogenic B16-F10 melanoma was transduced to express the K(b)-binding peptide SIYRYYGL as a green fluorescent protein fusion protein that should be recognized by high-affinity 2C TCR transgenic T cells. Although B16.SIY cells expressed high levels of antigen and were induced to express K(b) in response to IFN-gamma, they were poorly recognized by primed 2C/RAG2(-/-) T cells. A screen for candidate inhibitory ligands revealed elevated PD-L1/B7H-1 on IFN-gamma-treated B16-F10 cells and also on eight additional mouse tumors and seven human melanoma cell lines. Primed 2C/RAG2(-/-)/PD-1(-/-) T cells showed augmented cytokine production, proliferation, and cytolytic activity against tumor cells compared with wild-type 2C cells. This effect was reproduced with anti-PD-L1 antibody present during the effector phase but not during the priming culture. Adoptive transfer of 2C/RAG2(-/-)/PD-1(-/-) T cells in vivo caused tumor rejection under conditions in which wild-type 2C cells or CTLA-4-deficient 2C cells did not reject. Our results support interfering with PD-L1/PD-1 interactions to augment the effector function of tumor antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells in the tumor microenvironment.

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