Analysis of naïve and memory CD4 and CD8 T cell populations in breast cancer patients receiving a HER2/neu peptide (E75) and GM-CSF vaccine


We are conducting clinical trials of the E75 peptide as a vaccine in breast cancer (BrCa) patients. We assessed T cell subpopulations in BrCa patients before and after E75 vaccination and compared them to healthy controls. We obtained 17 samples of blood from ten healthy individuals and samples from 22 BrCa patients prior to vaccination. We also obtained pre- and post-vaccination samples of blood from seven BrCa patients who received the E75/GM-CSF vaccine. CD4, CD8, CD45RA, CD45RO, and CCR7 antibodies were used to analyze the CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by four-color flow cytometry. Compared to healthy individuals, BrCa patients have significantly more memory and less naïve T cells and more effector-memory CD8+ and less effector CD4+ T cells. Phenotypic differences in defined circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subpopulations suggest remnants of an active immune response to tumor distinguished by a predominant memory T cell response and by untapped recruitment of naïve helper and cytotoxic T cells. E75 vaccination induced recruitment of both CD4+ and CD8+ naïve T cells while memory response remained stable. Additionally, vaccination induced global activation of all T cells, with specific enhancement of effector CD4+ T cells. E75 vaccination causes activation of both memory and naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, while recruiting additional naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to the overall immune response.

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Funded by the Clinical Breast Care Project, a Congressionally funded program of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. Supported by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and the Department of Clinical Investigation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

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Correspondence to George E. Peoples.

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Hueman, M.T., Stojadinovic, A., Storrer, C.E. et al. Analysis of naïve and memory CD4 and CD8 T cell populations in breast cancer patients receiving a HER2/neu peptide (E75) and GM-CSF vaccine. Cancer Immunol Immunother 56, 135–146 (2007).

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  • HER2/neu
  • E75-peptide vaccine
  • Memory T cells
  • Naïve T cells
  • Immunophenotyping