Identification of an antigenic epitope for helper T lymphocytes from carcinoembryonic antigen
Keywords: 
Carcinoembryonic Antigen/immunology
Colonic Neoplasms/immunology
Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology
Lymphoma, T-Cell/immunology
T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology
Issue Date: 
2002
Publisher: 
American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN: 
1557-3265
Citation: 
Kobayashi H, Omiya R, Ruiz M, Huarte E, Sarobe P, Lasarte JJ, et al. Identification of an antigenic epitope for helper T lymphocytes from carcinoembryonic antigen. Clin Cancer Res 2002 Oct;8(10):3219-3225.
Abstract
PURPOSE: The product of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene is an attractive candidate for T-cell-based immunotherapy because it is frequently expressed in epithelial solid carcinomas. Although many CEA peptide epitopes capable of stimulating CTLs have been identified, no MHC class II-restricted T helper epitope has yet been reported. Experimental Design: The amino acid sequence of CEA was examined for the presence of potential T helper epitopes, and candidate peptides were used to stimulate in vitro T-cell responses. RESULTS: We describe here that using an algorithm to identify promiscuous helper T-cell epitopes, a peptide of CEA occupying residue positions 653 to 667 (CEA(653-667)), was effective in inducing in vitro T helper responses in the context of the HLA-DR4, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DR 9 alleles. Most significantly, some of the peptide-reactive helper T lymphocytes were also capable of recognizing naturally processed antigen in the form of recombinant CEA protein or cell lysates from tumors that express CEA. Interestingly, the newly identified helper T-cell epitope was found to overlap with a previously described HLA-A24-restricted CTL epitope, CEA(652-660), which could facilitate the development of a therapeutic vaccine capable of eliciting both CTL and T helper responses in patients suffering from epithelial carcinomas. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that T helper lymphocytes are capable of recognizing CEA as a tumor antigen and that epitope CEA(653-667) could be used for immunotherapy against tumors expressing CEA.

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