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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Immunoprevention of chemical carcinogenesis through early recognition of oncogene mutations.


PMID 25694611

Abstract

Prevention of tumors induced by environmental carcinogens has not been achieved. Skin tumors produced by polyaromatic hydrocarbons, such as 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA), often harbor an H-ras point mutation, suggesting that it is a poor target for early immunosurveillance. The application of pyrosequencing and allele-specific PCR techniques established that mutations in the genome and expression of the Mut H-ras gene could be detected as early as 1 d after DMBA application. Further, DMBA sensitization raised Mut H-ras epitope-specific CTLs capable of eliminating Mut H-ras(+) preneoplastic skin cells, demonstrating that immunosurveillance is normally induced but may be ineffective owing to insufficient effector pool size and/or immunosuppression. To test whether selective pre-expansion of CD8 T cells with specificity for the single Mut H-ras epitope was sufficient for tumor prevention, MHC class I epitope-focused lentivector-infected dendritic cell- and DNA-based vaccines were designed to bias toward CTL rather than regulatory T cell induction. Mut H-ras, but not wild-type H-ras, epitope-focused vaccination generated specific CTLs and inhibited DMBA-induced tumor initiation, growth, and progression in preventative and therapeutic settings. Transferred Mut H-ras-specific effectors induced rapid tumor regression, overcoming established tumor suppression in tumor-bearing mice. These studies support further evaluation of oncogenic mutations for their potential to act as early tumor-specific, immunogenic epitopes in expanding relevant immunosurveillance effectors to block tumor formation, rather than treating established tumors.

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