Human melanoma cells transfected with the B7-2 co-stimulatory molecule induce tumor-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes in vitro

Maria Adele Imro, Paolo Dellabona, Simona Manici, Silvia Heltai, Giuseppe Consogno, Matteo Bellone, Claudio Rugarli, Maria Pia Protti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neoplastic cells express tumor-associated antigens, but tumor rejection seldom occurs in vivo. The absence of an effective immune response may be explained by the inability of tumor cells to deliver co-stimulatory signals. Indeed, transfection of either B7-1 or B7-2 co-stimulatory molecules into mouse tumor cells enhances antitumor immune responses. In this study, we stably transfected human melanoma cells with the cDNA encoding the B7-2 molecule to evaluate in vitro: (i) the induction of anti-melanoma cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) by stimulation of CD8+ T cells, purified from healthy donors and a melanoma patient, with B7-2 transfected allogeneic HLA-matched melanoma cells; (ii) the tumor specificity and the HLA restriction of the induced CTL; and (iii) the feasibility to propagate long-term antimelanoma CTL lines. We found that B7-2 transfected, but not untransfected or mock-transfected, melanoma cells activated MHC-class I-restricted, melanoma-specific CD8+ CTL from healthy donors. More importantly, CD8+ tumor-associated lymphocytes, purified from a tumor-invaded lymph node of a melanoma patient and stimulated with B7-2-transfected melanoma cells, acquired a strong reactivity toward the autologous tumor. CTL lines with specific cytolytic activity could be propagated in long-term culture. These results indicate that: (i) the expression of the B7-2 molecule into human melanoma cells makes them immunogenic and able to act as antigen-presenting cells and (ii) purified CD8+ cells, stimulated with B7-2+ allogeneic HLA-matched melanoma cells, preferentially recognize melanoma-specific rather than allogeneic antigens. This study may have clinical implications for passive and/or active immunotherapy in melanoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1344
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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