An HLA-DR-degenerate epitope pool detects insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2-specific immunity in patients with cancer

Original Articles
Cancer Research 68(12): 4893-901, 2008
Kalli KR, Krco CJ, Hartmann LC, Goodman K, Maurer MJ, Yu C, Johnson EM, Erskine CL, Disis ML, Wettstein PJ, Fikes JD, Beebe M, Ishioka G, Knutson KL
Description / Abstract: 

Recent studies have shown the importance of helper CD4 T cells in initiating and sustaining tumor-specific CD8 T-cell immunity. This has paved the way for identifying MHC class II epitopes that could be incorporated into class I-based vaccines. In this study, the goal was to identify an HLA-DR-degenerate epitope pool derived from insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2). IGFBP-2, a regulator of insulin-like growth factor action, is overexpressed in the majority of breast and ovarian cancers. Using algorithms, we predicted 29 HLA-DR1-binding epitopes. Binding assays targeting 15 different HLA-DRs revealed that 10 epitopes were degenerate, binding to at least four different HLA-DR variants. An IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay was used to assess immunity to these 10 epitopes in 48 patients with either breast or ovarian cancer and 18 controls. Elevated T-cell immunity in patients was detected in 4 of the 10 epitopes (IGFBP2.17, IGFBP2.22, IGFBP2.249, and IGFBP2.293). The cumulative T-cell frequency of these four epitopes was elevated in patients relative to controls. All four peptides are naturally processed and presented to CD4 T-cells. The degenerate pool of peptides covers nearly 80% of patients and may be useful for augmenting CD4 T-cell immunity in patients undergoing immunization.

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