Limited antitumor T cell response in melanoma patients vaccinated with interleukin-2 gene-transduced allogeneic melanoma cells

Flavio Arienti, Josep Sulé-Suso, Filiberto Belli, Luigi Mascheroni, Licia Rivoltini, Cecilia Melani, Michele Maio, Natale Cascinelli, Mario P. Colombo, Giorgio Parmiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have immunized advanced melanoma patients with a HLA-A2-compatible human melanoma line genetically modified to release interleukin-2 (IL-2), elicit or increase a T cell-mediated anti-melanoma response that may affect distant lesions. Twelve stage-IV patients were injected subcutaneously at days 1, 13, 26, and 55 with IL-2 gene-transduced and irradiated melanoma cells at doses of 5 or 15 x 107 cells. Both local and systemic toxicities were mild, consisting of transient erythema at the vaccination site; fever occurred in a minority of patients. Three mixed responses were recorded. Seven patients were evaluable for immunological studies. Mixed-tumor-lymphocyte cultures carried out with different allogeneic HLA-A2-matched melanoma lines as stimulators and targets revealed an increase in the MHC-unrestricted, but not changes in the MHC-restricted, cytotoxicity in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) obtained after vaccination as compared with those obtained before vaccination. Increased recognition of the tyrosinase 368-376 peptide occurred in post-vaccination PBL of one patient, whereas a weak increase in recognition of the gp100 280-288 peptide was detectable in another patient; these 2 patients also recognized the gp100 457-466 peptide. After in vitro, stimulation with the only available autologous melanoma line, CD4+ cells with autologous tumor-specific cytotoxicity and ability to release interferon-γ (IFN-γ) were found in post- but not in pre-vaccination PBL. In the same patient, as well as in another patient, limiting dilution analysis showed that vaccination resulted in an increased frequency of melanoma-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) precursors. These results indicate that vaccination with cells releasing IL-2 locally can expand a T cell response against antigen(s) of autologous untransduced tumor, although this response occurred in a minority of the melanoma patients studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1963
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Oct 20 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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