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Disruption of CD8+ Treg activity results in expansion of T follicular helper cells and enhanced antitumor immunity.

Cancer immunology research (2014-04-30)
Diana A Alvarez Arias, Hye-Jung Kim, Penghui Zhou, Tobias A W Holderried, Xuan Wang, Glenn Dranoff, Harvey Cantor
ABSTRACT

Tumor growth is associated with the inhibition of host antitumor immune responses that can impose serious obstacles to cancer immunotherapy. To define the potential contribution of Qa-1-restricted CD8 regulatory T cells (Treg) to the development of tumor immunity, we studied B6.Qa-1 D227K mice that harbor a point mutation in the MHC class Ib molecule Qa-1 that impairs CD8 Treg suppressive activity. Here, we report that the growth of B16 melanoma is substantially delayed in these Qa-1-mutant mice after therapeutic immunization with B16 melanoma cells engineered to express granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor compared with Qa-1 B6-WT controls. Reduced tumor growth is associated with enhanced expansion of follicular T helper cells, germinal center B cells, and high titers of antitumor autoantibodies, which provoke robust antitumor immune responses in concert with tumor-specific cytolytic T cells. Analysis of tumor-infiltrating T cells revealed that the Qa-1 DK mutation was associated with an increase in the ratio of CD8(+) T effectors compared with CD8 Tregs. These data suggest that the CD8(+) T effector-Treg ratio may provide a useful prognostic index for cancer development and raise the possibility that depletion or inactivation of CD8 Tregs represents a potentially effective strategy to enhance antitumor immunity.

MATERIALS
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