Induction of ErbB-2/neu-specific protective and therapeutic antitumor immunity using genetically modified dendritic cells: enhanced efficacy by cotransduction of gene encoding IL-12

Gene Ther. 2001 Feb;8(4):316-23. doi: 10.1038/


Overexpression of ErbB-2/neu occurs in 20-30% of patients with breast cancer and indicates a poor prognosis. The presence of a detectable immune response to ErbB-2/neu in some patients suggests that this oncogene may be a useful target for vaccine therapy. We evaluated whether genetic immunization using dendritic cells (DC) transduced ex vivo with an adenovirus expressing the ErbB-2/neu gene (AdNeuTK) could induce protective and therapeutic immunity against a breast tumor cell line overexpressing ErbB-2/neu. Subcutaneous (s.c.) immunization with the DC vaccine elicited protective immunity in an average of 60% of animals. CTL analysis demonstrated specific cytotoxic activity against breast tumor cells, as well as syngeneic fibroblasts transduced with AdNeuTK. In vivo depletion studies demonstrated both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were required. In a therapeutic setting, immunization with the DC vaccines could cure mice with pre-established tumors and efficacy was further enhanced by cotransducing DCs with a vector expressing murine IL-12 (AdmIL-12). These studies support DC vaccines as a therapeutic strategy for human breast cancer, while emphasizing the importance of optimizing an immune response by combining tumor antigen presentation with immunostimulatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-12 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy
  • Rats
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Interleukin-12
  • Receptor, ErbB-2