Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, 60:1299

MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1 can be upregulated on neuroblastoma cells to facilitate cytotoxic T lymphocyte-mediated tumor cell killing

Original article

Abstract

Approximately half of patients with stage IV neuroblastoma are expected to relapse despite current therapy, and when this occurs, there is little likelihood of achieving a cure. Very few clinical trials have been conducted to determine whether cellular immune responses could be harnessed to fight this tumor, largely because potential tumor antigens for cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are limited. MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1 are cancer-testis (CT) antigens expressed on a number of malignant solid tumors, including neuroblastoma, but many tumor cell lines down-regulate the expression of CT antigens as well as major histocompatibility (MHC) antigens, precluding recognition by antigen-specific T cells. If expression of cancer antigens on neuroblastoma could be enhanced pharmacologically, CT antigen-specific immunotherapy could be considered for this tumor. We have demonstrated that the expression of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1 can be upregulated on neuroblastoma cells following exposure to pharmacologic levels of the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine, DAC). Expression of NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, or MAGE-A3 was induced in 10/10 neuroblastoma cell lines after 5 days of exposure to DAC. Culture of neuroblastoma cell lines with IFN-γ was also associated with an increased expression of either MHC Class I or II by cytofluorometry, as reported by other groups. MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1-specific CTL were cultured from volunteer donors by stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells with dendritic cells pulsed with overlapping peptide mixes derived from full-length proteins, and these CTL preferentially lysed HLA partially matched, DAC-treated neuroblastoma and glioblastoma cell lines. These studies show that demethylating chemotherapy can be combined with IFN-γ to increase the expression of CT antigens and MHC molecules on neuroblastoma cells, and pre-treatment with these agents makes tumor cell lines more susceptible to CTL-mediated killing. These data provide a basis to consider the use of demethylating chemotherapy in neuroblastoma patients, in conjunction with immune therapies that facilitate the expansion of CT antigen-specific CTL.

Keywords

Cancer-testis antigens Decitabine Interferon-γ Neuroblastoma MHC molecules 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell TransplantationPenn State Hershey Children’s HospitalHersheyUSA

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