PloS one

Serum antibodies against CD28-- a new potential marker of dismal prognosis in melanoma patients.

PMID 23483974


Autoantibodies against CD28 have been found in patients with autoimmune and atopic diseases. These antibodies may act as superagonists and activate T cells but may also be antagonistic or induce immunosuppressive effects by activating regulatory T cells. Autoimmunity in melanoma patients has been discussed controversially. We investigated 230 melanoma patients for the occurrence of CD28 antibodies and the effect of the latter on overall and progress-free survival. We constructed an ELISA assay to measure CD28 serum antibodies. 230 patients with melanoma and a control-group of 625 patients consistent of 212 patients with virus hepatitis b or c, 149 patients with allergies, 78 patients with psoriasis, 46 patients with plasmocytoma and 140 healthy blood donors were investigated for the occurrence of CD28 antibodies. CD28 abs occur at a higher percentage in patients with melanoma and in patients with viral hepatitis than in other groups investigated (p<0.001). Occurrence of CD28 abs is significantly higher in patients receiving interferons independent from the underlying disease (p<0.001). In vitro CD28 serum antibodies have an inhibitory effect on the CD28 receptor as they lead to reduced stimulation of Jurkat cells. Presence of CD28 was correlated with a higher risk of dying from melanoma (p = 0.043), but not with a significantly shortened overall survival or progression-free survival. Interferon therapy appears to induce the production of CD28 abs. In light of reports that these CD28 abs induce immunosuppressive Tregs and - as our data show - that they are inhibitors of CD28 receptor mediated stimulation, the continuation of therapies with interferons in melanoma patients developing CD28 antibodies should be critically reconsidered, since our data indicate a worse outcome of patients with CD28 abs.