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.
Functional T cell responses to tumor antigens in breast cancer patients have a distinct phenotype and cytokine signature
J of Immunology 179(4): 2627-33, 2007
Description / Abstract: