Research Papers: Pathology:

A new immunization and treatment strategy for mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) associated cancers

Ori Braitbard, Maayan Roniger, Allan Bar-Sinai, Dana Rajchman, Tamar Gross, Hillel Abramovitch, Marco La Ferla, Sara Franceschi, Francesca Lessi, Antonio Giuseppe Naccarato, Chiara M. Mazzanti, Generoso Bevilacqua and Jacob Hochman _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:21168-21180. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7762

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Ori Braitbard1, Maayan Roniger1, Allan Bar-Sinai1, Dana Rajchman1, Tamar Gross1, Hillel Abramovitch1, Marco La Ferla2, Sara Franceschi2, Francesca Lessi2, Antonio Giuseppe Naccarato3, Chiara M. Mazzanti2, Generoso Bevilacqua2,3 and Jacob Hochman1

1 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

2 FPS - Pisa Science Foundation, Pisa, Italy

3 Department of Pathology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Correspondence to:

Jacob Hochman, email:

Keywords: signal peptide, mouse mammary tumor virus, breast cancer, vaccine, adoptive cell transfer, monoclonal antibodies, Pathology Section

Received: November 04, 2015 Accepted: January 24, 2016 Published: February 26, 2016


Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV) causes mammary carcinoma or lymphoma in mice. An increasing body of evidence in recent years supports its involvement also in human sporadic breast cancer. It is thus of importance to develop new strategies to impair the development, growth and metastasis of MMTV-associated cancers. The signal peptide of the envelope precursor protein of this virus: MMTV-p14 (p14) is an excellent target for such strategies, due to unique characteristics distinct from its regular endoplasmic reticulum targeting function. These include cell surface expression in: murine cancer cells that harbor the virus, human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells that ectopically express p14, as well as cultured human cells derived from an invasive ductal breast carcinoma positive for MMTV sequences. These findings support its use in signal peptide-based immune targeting. Indeed, priming and boosting mice with p14 elicits a specific anti-signal peptide immune response sufficient for protective vaccination against MMTV-associated tumors. Furthermore, passive immunization using a combination of anti-p14 monoclonal antibodies or the transfer of T-cells from immunized mice (Adoptive Cell Transfer) is also therapeutically effective. With reports demonstrating involvement of MMTV in human breast cancer, we propose the immune-mediated targeting of p14 as a strategy for prevention, treatment and diagnosis of MMTV-associated cancers.

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