Effect of immunological adjuvant combinations on the antibody and T-cell response to vaccination with MUC1-KLH and GD3-KLH conjugates

Vaccine. 2000 Oct 15;19(4-5):530-7. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00195-x.


A year ago we described a comparison of 19 immunological adjuvants for their ability to augment antibody and T-cell responses against vaccines containing two cancer antigens, GD3 ganglioside and MUC1 peptide, covalently attached to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). As in our previous experience, the saponin fraction QS-21 was the most potent single adjuvant but several other adjuvants also had potent adjuvant activity. Induction of an immune response against cancer antigens is generally difficult because these antigens are autoantigens. To get maximal benefit from the adjuvant component of cancer vaccines we have now tested whether combinations of the optimal adjuvants induced an improved immune response compared to QS-21 alone. Since over the intervening year a new semi-synthetic saponin adjuvant (GPI-0100) containing the dodecylamide derivative of hydrolyzed naturally-occurring saponins had become available, this was tested as well. Twelve different adjuvant combinations and GPI-0100 were compared for their ability to augment (1) antibody responses against GD3 and MUC1 and (2) T-cell responses against GD3, MUC1 and KLH. GPI-0100 and five adjuvant combinations were superior to QS-21 alone for induction of IgM and IgG antibodies against MUC1 and/or GD3: QS-21 plus bacterial nucleotide CpG, QS-21 plus monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), QS-21 plus non-ionic block copolymer CRL-1005, QS-21 plus Titermax and Titermax plus CpG. Antibody responses were documented both by ELISA against purified antigens and by FACS for cell surface reactivity. There was no evidence for T-cell immunity against GD3 or MUC1. The antibody responses against GD3 and MUC1 were, however, strongly correlated with IFN-gamma release and DTH against KLH. These results demonstrate that combinations of immunological adjuvants are able to augment antibody and T-cell responses to these conjugates beyond that attainable with QS-21 alone, and again confirm the absolute necessity of potent adjuvants or adjuvant combinations for optimal immunogenicity with conjugate vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Gangliosides / administration & dosage*
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Hemocyanins / administration & dosage*
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mucin-1 / administration & dosage*
  • Mucin-1 / immunology*
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / administration & dosage


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Cytokines
  • Gangliosides
  • MUC1 tandem repeat peptide
  • Mucin-1
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Vaccines, Conjugate
  • ganglioside, GD3
  • Hemocyanins
  • keyhole-limpet hemocyanin