Antimetastatic activity of a preventive cancer vaccine

Patrizia Nanni, Giordano Nicoletti, Arianna Palladini, Stefania Croci, Annalisa Murgo, Agnese Antognoli, Lorena Landuzzi, Marina Fabbi, Silvano Ferrini, Piero Musiani, Manuela Iezzi, Carla De Giovanni, Pier Luigi Lollini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of prophylactic cancer vaccines that protect healthy hosts from tumor development leaves open the question whether such vaccines are also effective against established tumors and metastases. We tested the therapeutic activity of a proven prophylactic anti-HER-2/neu vaccine against successive stages of mammary carcinoma progression in HER-2/neu transgenic mice. The vaccine consisted of transgenic mammary carcinoma cells expressing HER-2/neu and two adjuvants: allogeneic class I histocompatibility antigens and interleukin (IL)-12. Vaccination of mice bearing lung micrometastases resulted in a 90% inhibition of metastasis development, whereas vaccination of mice with incipient local tumors was ineffective. The antimetastatic response was hampered by immune tolerance, as the protection of transgenic mice was lower than that of wild-type congenics not tolerant to HER-2/neu. A significant gain in immunotherapeutic activity in transgenic mice was obtained through the coadministration of anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody targeting regulatory T cells, which resulted in a >99% inhibition of metastasis. The immune responses elicited in transgenic mice comprised the activation of lung granulocytes and macrophages and of systemic adaptive responses based on helper T cells and their cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-4) and anti-HER-2/neu antibodies. Dissection of relevant antimetastatic mechanisms by means of knockout mice and of depleting antibodies revealed a major difference between tumor prevention, which was completely dependent on anti-HER-2/neu antibodies, and metastasis therapy, which was antibody independent. In conclusion, a vaccine successfully developed for cancer immunoprevention showed a strong therapeutic activity against lung metastases mediated by protective immune mechanisms distinct from those preventing the onset of primary mammary carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11037-11044
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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