The antitumor immune response in HER-2 positive, metastatic breast cancer patients

J Transl Med. 2005 Mar 22;3(1):13. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-3-13.


The aim of this study was to determine the basis for anti-tumor immune reactivity observed in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2) (3+) breast carcinoma using an in vitro model in which the role of the HER-2-specific monoclonal antibody Herceptin was also investigated. Patients with metastatic breast cancer who had their primary tumor resected were included in this study. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-dependent cytotoxicity in the presence or absence of Herceptin were assessed using the survival of target breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-361 cells as a parameter in a (3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) test. We observed a significant increase in PBMC-dependent cytotoxicity when autologous serum was introduced in the assay. Furthermore, the addition of Herceptin significantly increases their cytotoxicity. These data suggest that autologous serum constitutively contains factors that might affect PBMC-dependent cytotoxic activity against HER-2 positive cancer cells.