Vaccination with dendritic cells pulsed with apoptotic tumors in combination with anti-OX40 and anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibodies induces T cell-mediated protective immunity in Her-2/neu transgenic mice

Int J Cancer. 2005 Oct 10;116(6):934-43. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21098.


Tumor cells express tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), which can serve as targets for the immune system. However, the majority of TAAs are overexpressed products of normal cellular genes; as such, self-tolerance mechanisms have hindered their use for the induction of effective antitumor responses. One such normal self-protein is the growth factor receptor Her-2/neu, which is overexpressed in 25-35% of all mammary carcinomas in humans. In previous studies, we have demonstrated that Her-2/neu mice are functionally tolerant to neu antigens and contain only a low avidity T-cell repertoire to neu antigens. However, this residual low-avidity T-cell repertoire has antitumor activity. In this study, we compared the immune responses of Her-2/neu mice immunized with dendritic cells (DCs) pulsed with soluble neu protein or with apoptotic tumor cells. Analysis of the antitumor response shows that Her-2/neu mice vaccinated with DCs pulsed with Her-2/neu antigens retard tumor growth; however, vaccination with DCs pulsed with apoptotic tumor cells induces a stronger antitumor effect. Administration of multiple immunizations in combination with the costimulatory agonist anti-OX40 or anti-4-1BB MAb significantly enhanced the immune responses in these mice, resulting in complete tumor rejection if the tumor burden was small and substantial tumor reduction with a larger tumor burden. These results have important implications for the design of tumor vaccination strategies, suggesting that the use of vaccines that stimulate a broad immune response in combination with costimulatory molecules as immunomodulators could significantly improve the antitumor immune response in tolerant hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / immunology
  • Apoptosis
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / microbiology
  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Genes, erbB-2*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / immunology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • OX40Ig
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF9 protein, human
  • Tnfrsf9 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9