, Volume 57, Issue 7, pp 987-996
Date: 01 Dec 2007

Immune modulation by melanoma and ovarian tumor cells through expression of the immunosuppressive molecule CD200

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Background and Objective

Immune escape by tumors can occur by multiple mechanisms, each a significant barrier to immunotherapy. We previously demonstrated that upregulation of the immunosuppressive molecule CD200 on chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells inhibits Th1 cytokine production required for an effective cytotoxic T cell response. CD200 expression on human tumor cells in animal models prevents human lymphocytes from rejecting the tumor; treatment with an antagonistic anti-CD200 antibody restored lymphocyte-mediated tumor growth inhibition. The current study evaluated CD200 expression on solid cancers, and its effect on immune response in vitro.

Methods and Results

CD200 protein was expressed on the surface of 5/8 ovarian cancer, 2/4 melanoma, 2/2 neuroblastoma and 2/3 renal carcinoma cell lines tested, but CD200 was absent on prostate, lung, breast, astrocytoma, or glioblastoma cell lines. Evaluation of patient samples by immunohistochemistry showed strong, membrane-associated CD200 staining on malignant cells of melanoma (4/4), ovarian cancer (3/3) and clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) (2/3), but also on normal ovary and kidney. CD200 expression on melanoma metastases was determined by RT-QPCR, and was found to be significantly higher in jejunum metastases (2/2) and lung metastases (2/6) than in normal samples. Addition of CD200-expressing, but not CD200-negative solid tumor cell lines to mixed lymphocyte reactions downregulated the production of Th1 cytokines. Inclusion of antagonistic anti-CD200 antibody restored Th1 cytokine responses.


These data suggest that melanoma, ccRCC and ovarian tumor cells can express CD200, thereby potentially suppressing anti-tumor immune responses. CD200 blockade with an antagonistic antibody may permit an effective anti-tumor immune response in these solid tumor types.