Autoantibody to p185(erbB2/neu) oncoprotein by vaccination with xenogenic DNA

A. Concetti, A. Amici, C. Petrelli, A. Tibaldi, M. Provinciali, F. M. Venanzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The passive transfer of antibodies and vaccination procedures against p185, the erbB2/neu oncoprotein, are approaches being explored for treatment of human breast cancer. We now report the possibility of using the erbB2/neu gene as an immunogen. This study demonstrates that intramuscular or intradermal injections of rat neuNT full-length DNA into mice generate anti-p185 autoantibodies. Anti-p185 polyclonals were also shown to bind the homologous human receptor ErbB2 and to stain specimens of breast adenocarcinoma from both neu-transgenic mice and humans. Further, in vitro assays demonstrated that anti-p185 IgG (probably dependent on CD4+ Th1) were able to inhibit human SKBR3 tumour cell growth and to mediate their lysis by natural killer cells. The continuous presence of circulating neu autoantibodies in mice did not cause any discernible toxic effects on normal tissues expressing low levels of self-antigen, even after 1 year. The experiments reported here raise the possibility that boosting anti-ErbB2 immunity by DNA vaccination will not induce harmful autoimmunity in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • autoantibodies
  • breast cancer
  • DNA immunization
  • p185(erbB2/neu)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology

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