Purpose: The product of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene is an attractive candidate for T-cell-based immunotherapy because it is frequently expressed in epithelial solid carcinomas. Although many CEA peptide epitopes capable of stimulating CTLs have been identified, no MHC class II-restricted T helper epitope has yet been reported. Experimental Design: The amino acid sequence of CEA was examined for the presence of potential T helper epitopes, and candidate peptides were used to stimulate in vitro T-cell responses. Results: We describe here that using an algorithm to identify promiscuous helper T-cell epitopes, a peptide of CEA occupying residue positions 653 to 667 (CEA653-667), was effective in inducing in vitro T helper responses in the context of the HLA-DR4, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DR9 alleles. Most significantly, some of the peptide-reactive helper T lymphocytes were also capable of recognizing naturally processed antigen in the form of recombinant CEA protein or cell lysates from tumors that express CEA. Interestingly, the newly identified helper T-cell epitope was found to overlap with a previously described HLA-A24-restricted CTL epitope, CEA652-660, which could facilitate the development of a therapeutic vaccine capable of eliciting both CTL and T helper responses in patients suffering from epithelial carcinomas. Conclusion: These results indicate that T helper lymphocytes are capable of recognizing CEA as a tumor antigen and that epitope CEA653-667 could be used for immunotherapy against tumors expressing CEA.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical Cancer Research|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2002|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research