HER-3 expression has been reported to act as an important oncoprotein in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This protein is known to control tumor proliferation and acquisition of resistance by tumor cells towards EGFR inhibitors, therefore, development of a HER-3-targeted therapy is desirable. In this study, we found that HER-3 expression on tumor cells was increased after EGFR inhibition. To establish a novel therapeutic approach for HER-3-positive head and neck carcinoma, we identified a HER-3 helper epitope that could elicit effective helper T cell responses to the naturally processed HER-3-derived epitope presented in a HER-3 expressing tumors. This epitope induced potent cytolytic activity of CD4 T cells against such tumor cells. Moreover, pan HER-family tyrosine kinase inhibitor augmented the responses of HER-3-reactive CD4 T cells via upregulation of HLA-DR protein on the surface of tumor cells. Our results supports the validity of CD4 T cell-dependent HER-3-targeted therapy combined with a broad inhibitor of HER-family.
ASJC Scopus subject areas