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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cytotoxic T-cell response and in vivo protection against tumor cells harboring activated ras proto-oncogenes.

BACKGROUND: Activated forms of the ras proto-oncogene have been found in approximately 30% of human malignancies, including pancreatic, colon, and lung adenocarcinomas. Ras oncoproteins arise by somatic mutation and contain amino acid changes at residues 12, 13, or 61, thus generating unique tumor-specific proteins that are attractive targets for cancer therapy. PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to determine whether vaccination with mutant Ras protein could lead to the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for the mutant epitope and to protection against challenge with tumor cells expressing the mutant oncoprotein. METHODS: To determine a methodology for generating CTL responses following immunization with soluble protein, ovalbumin was used as a model tumor antigen. C57BL/6 mice were immunized with soluble ovalbumin administered intraperitoneally at 2-week intervals or with intravenous injection of ovalbumin or osmotically loaded splenocytes. Immunized mice were challenged with E.G7 cells (which express a transfected ovalbumin gene), and tumor growth was monitored. Generation of ovalbumin-specific CTLs was determined by 51Cr release assays. Purified wild-type or mutant H-Ras proteins (containing single amino acid substitutions at position 12 converting Gly to Arg or Val) were used to immunize BALB/c mice intraperitoneally. Ras-immunized mice were challenged with tumor cells containing Arg 12 or Val 12 mutations or not harboring mutant forms of Ras. Cytolytic and proliferative responses to mutant forms of Ras were studied, and the effects of in vivo depletion of CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocytes were determined. RESULTS: In vivo challenge with E.G7 showed that intraperitoneal immunization with soluble ovalbumin was as effective as osmotic loading, resulting in long-term disease-free survival of some mice and the development of ovalbumin-specific CTLs. Immunization with Arg 12 Ras led to disease-free survival in nine of 10 animals challenged with tumor cells containing an Arg 12 mutation, while no protection was afforded against tumors expressing other forms of Ras or other oncogenes. Splenocytes from BALB/c mice immunized with Arg 12 Ras demonstrated cytolytic activity specific against tumor cells expressing Arg 12 Ras, with most of this activity residing in the CD8+ subset. Mutation-specific proliferation to Arg 12 Ras peptides was also observed. Immunization with Val 12 Ras did not elicit detectable Val 12-specific immunity. CONCLUSIONS: Antigen-specific CTLs can be induced following intraperitoneal immunization of mice with purified, soluble proteins. For both ovalbumin and Arg 12 Ras, specific in vivo protection against tumor cell challenge was observed.[1]


  1. Cytotoxic T-cell response and in vivo protection against tumor cells harboring activated ras proto-oncogenes. Fenton, R.G., Taub, D.D., Kwak, L.W., Smith, M.R., Longo, D.L. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (1993) [Pubmed]
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