, Volume 58, Issue 11, pp 1819-1830
Date: 25 Mar 2009

Characterization of tumor antigen peptide-specific T cells isolated from the neoplastic tissue of patients with gastric adenocarcinoma

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Gastric cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Surgical resection remains the primary curative treatment for gastric adenocarcinoma, but the poor (15–35%) survival rate at 5 years has prompted many studies for new therapeutic strategies, such as specific immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to analyze the functional properties of the T cell response to different antigen peptides related to gastric cancer in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. To this purpose, we have cloned and characterized tumor-infiltrating T cells (TILs) isolated from the neoplastic gastric tissue samples. A T cell response specific to different peptides of gastric cancer antigens tested was documented in 17 out of 20 patients, selected for their HLA-A02 and/or -A24 alleles. Most of the cancer peptide-specific TILs expressed a Th1/Tc1 profile and cytotoxic activity against target cells. The effector functions of cancer peptide-specific T cells obtained from the peripheral blood of the same patients were also studied. The majority of peripheral blood peptide-specific T cells also expressed the Th1/Tc1 functional profile. In conclusion, in most of the patients with gastric adenocarcinoma, a specific type-1 T cell response to gastric cancer antigens was detectable and would have the potential of hamper tumor cell growth. However, in order to get tumor cell killing in vivo, the activity and the number of cancer peptide-specific Th1/Tc1 cells probably need to be enhanced by vaccination with the appropriate cancer antigenic peptides or by injection of the autologus tumor peptide-specific T cells expanded in vitro.