Immunization with a HER-2/neu helper peptide vaccine generates HER-2/neu CD8 T-cell immunity in cancer patients

J Clin Invest. 2001 Feb;107(4):477-84. doi: 10.1172/JCI11752.


CD4 T-cell help is required during the generation and maintenance of effective antitumor CD8 T cell-mediated immunity. The goal of this study was to determine whether HER-2/neu-specific CD8 T-cell immunity could be elicited using HER-2/neu-derived MHC class II "helper" peptides, which contain encompassed HLA-A2-binding motifs. Nineteen HLA-A2 patients with HER-2/neu-overexpressing cancers received a vaccine preparation consisting of putative HER-2/neu helper peptides p369-384, p688-703, and p971-984. Contained within these sequences are the HLA-A2-binding motifs p369-377, p689-697, and p971-979. After vaccination, the mean peptide-specific T-cell precursor frequency to the HLA-A2 peptides increased in the majority of patients. In addition, the peptide-specific T cells were able to lyse tumors. The responses were long-lived and detectable for more than 1 year after the final vaccination in select patients. These results demonstrate that HER-2/neu MHC class II epitopes containing encompassed MHC class I epitopes are able to induce long-lasting HER-2-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD8 T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Receptor, ErbB-2