Cyclin-A2, a key cell cycle regulator, has been shown to be overexpressed in various types of malignancies with little expression in normal tissue. Such tumor-associated genes potentially are useful targets for cancer immunotherapy. However, high-avidity cyclin-specific T cells are considered to be thymically deleted. We identified at least one nonameric HLA-A*0201 binding cyclin-A2 epitope by a reverse immunology approach. Using a highly efficient T-cell expansion system that is based on CD40-activated B (CD40-B) cells as sole antigen-presenting cells we successfully generated cyclin-A2 specific CTL from HLA-A*0201(+) donors. Interestingly, high-avidity cyclin-A2 specific CTL lines, which recognized peptide-pulsed and antigen expressing target cells, were indeed generated by stimulation with CD40-B cells when pulsed with low concentrations of peptide, whereas CD40-B cells pulsed at saturating concentrations could only induce low-avidity CTL, which recognized peptide-pulsed target cells only. One high-avidity CTL line was subdoned and CTL dones, whose peptide concentration required for half-maximal lysis were less than 1 nM, could lyse cyclin-A2 expressing tumor cells. Taken together, cyclin A2 is an attractive candidate for immune intervention in a significant numher of cancer patients and high-avidity T cells can be readily generated using CD40-B cells as antigen-presenting cells. (C) 2009 UICC.
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