Specific immune recognition of pancreatic carcinoma by patient-derived CD4 and CD8 T cells and its improvement by interferon-gamma

Int J Oncol. 2006 Jun;28(6):1419-28. doi: 10.3892/ijo.28.6.1419.


Pancreatic carcinoma is a very aggressive disease and little is known about its immunobiology. We here describe the presence in pancreatic cancer patients of spontaneously induced functional CD4 and CD8 memory/effector T cells reactive to autologous tumor cells or to the pancreatic cancer associated antigen, MUC-1. Such specific cells were present in the bone marrow or peripheral blood of most of the 23 tested patients. Low dose stimulation of primary cultures of pancreatic cancer cells with 500 IU/ml IFN-gamma for 72 h enhanced HLA-I expression and induced the de novo expression of HLA-II molecules. This led to a much better immune recognition by autologous HLA-I restricted and purified CD8 T cells and allowed tumor cell recognition by HLA-II restricted purified CD4 T-helper cells. Thus, interferon-gamma appears to be a useful adjuvant cytokine to enhance the immunogenicity of a patients' tumor cells and their recognition by tumor reactive immune cells.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • HLA-D Antigens / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / drug effects
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology*


  • HLA-D Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma