Research Papers: Immunology:

Antigen spreading-induced CD8+T cells confer protection against the lethal challenge of wild-type malignant mesothelioma by eliminating myeloid-derived suppressor cells

Zhe Yu, Zhiwu Tan, Boon Kiat Lee, Jiansong Tang, Xilin Wu, Ka-Wai Cheung, Nathan Tin Lok Lo, Kwan Man, Li Liu and Zhiwei Chen _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:32426-32438. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5856

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Zhe Yu1,2,*, Zhiwu Tan1,*, Boon Kiat Lee1, Jiansong Tang1, Xilin Wu1, Ka-Wai Cheung1, Nathan Tin Lok Lo1, Kwan Man3, Li Liu1 and Zhiwei Chen1,4

1 AIDS Institute and Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing (LKS) Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, P.R. China

2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedics Oncology Institute of Chinese PLA, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, P.R. China

3 Department of Surgery and Centre for Cancer Research, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, P.R. China

4 Research Center for Infection and Immunity, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, P.R. China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhiwei Chen, email:

Keywords: CD8+T cells, vaccination, mesothelioma, antigen spreading, MDSCs, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: August 03, 2015 Accepted: September 06, 2015 Published: September 28, 2015


A key focus in cancer immunotherapy is to investigate the mechanism of efficacious vaccine responses. Using HIV-1 GAG-p24 in a model PD1-based DNA vaccine, we recently reported that vaccine-elicited CD8+ T cells conferred complete prevention and therapeutic cure of AB1-GAG malignant mesothelioma in immunocompetent BALB/c mice. Here, we further investigated the efficacy and correlation of protection on the model vaccine-mediated antigen spreading against wild-type AB1 (WT-AB1) mesothelioma. We found that this vaccine was able to protect mice completely from three consecutive lethal challenges of AB1-GAG mesothelioma. Through antigen spreading these animals also developed tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, but neither CD4+ T cells nor antibodies, rejecting WT-AB1 mesothelioma. A majority of these protected mice (90%) were also completely protected against the lethal WT-AB1 challenge. Adoptive cell transfer experiments further demonstrated that antigen spreading-induced CD8+ T cells conferred efficacious therapeutic effects against established WT-AB1 mesothelioma and prevented the increase of exhausted PD-1+ and Tim-3+ CD8+ T cells. A significant inverse correlation was found between the frequency of functional PD1-Tim3- CD8+ T cells and that of MDSCs or tumor mass in vivo. Mechanistically, we found that WT-AB1 mesothelioma induced predominantly polymorphonuclear (PMN) MDSCs in vivo. In co-cultures with efficacious CD8+ T cells, a significant number of PMN-MDSCs underwent apoptosis in a dose-dependent way. Our findings indicate that efficacious CD8+ T cells capable of eliminating both tumor cells and MDSCs are likely necessary for fighting wild-type malignant mesothelioma.

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