Functional T cell responses to tumor antigens in breast cancer patients have a distinct phenotype and cytokine signature

Original Articles
J of Immunology 179(4): 2627-33, 2007
Inokuma M, delaRosa C, Schmitt C, Haaland P, Siebert J, Petry D, Tang MX, Suni MA, Ghanekar SA, Gladding D, Dunne JF, Maino VC, Disis ML and Maecker HT
Description / Abstract: 

The overall prevalence with which endogenous tumor Ags induce host T cell responses is unclear. Even when such responses are detected, they do not usually result in spontaneous remission of the cancer. We hypothesized that this might be associated with a predominant phenotype and/or cytokine profile of tumor-specific responses that is different from protective T cell responses to other chronic Ags, such as CMV. We detected significant T cell responses to CEA, HER-2/neu, and/or MAGE-A3 in 17 of 21 breast cancer patients naive to immunotherapy. The pattern of T cell cytokines produced in response to tumor-associated Ags (TAAs) in breast cancer patients was significantly different from that produced in response to CMV or influenza in the same patients. Specifically, there was a higher proportion of IL-2-producing CD8(+) T cells, and a lower proportion of IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) and/or CD8(+) T cells responding to TAAs compared with CMV or influenza Ags. Finally, the phenotype of TAA-responsive CD8(+) T cells in breast cancer patients was almost completely CD28(+)CD45RA(-) (memory phenotype). CMV-responsive CD8(+) T cells in the same patients were broadly distributed among phenotypes, and contained a high proportion of terminal effector cells (CD27(-)CD28(-)CD45RA(+)) that were absent in the TAA responses. Taken together, these results suggest that TAA-responsive T cells are induced in breast cancer patients, but those T cells are phenotypically and functionally different from CMV- or influenza-responsive T cells. Immunotherapies directed against TAAs may need to alter these T cell signatures to be effective.

PubMed ID: