Measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells induce tumor antigen cross-presentation by human plasmacytoid dendritic cells

Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Mar 1;19(5):1147-58. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2733. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


Purpose: Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are antigen-presenting cells specialized in antiviral response. The measles virus vaccine is proposed as an antitumor agent to target and specifically kill tumor cells without infecting healthy cells.

Experimental design: Here, we investigated, in vitro, the effects of measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells on the phenotype and functions of human pDC. We studied maturation and tumor antigen cross-presentation by pDC, exposed either to the virus alone, or to measles virus vaccine-infected or UV-irradiated tumor cells.

Results: We found that only measles virus vaccine-infected cells induced pDC maturation with a strong production of IFN-α, whereas UV-irradiated tumor cells were unable to activate pDC. This IFN-α production was triggered by the interaction of measles virus vaccine single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) with TLR7. We observed that measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells were phagocytosed by pDC. Interestingly, we showed cross-presentation of the tumor antigen NYESO-1 to a specific CD8(+) T-cell clone when pDC were cocultured with measles virus vaccine-infected tumor cells, whereas pDC were unable to cross-present NYESO-1 after coculture with UV-irradiated tumor cells.

Conclusions: Altogether, our results suggest that the use of measles virus vaccine in antitumor virotherapy induces immunogenic tumor cell death, allowing pDC to mature, produce high amounts of IFN-α, and cross-present tumor antigen, thus representing a mode of recruiting these antigen-presenting cells in the immune response. Clin Cancer Res; 19(5); 1147-58. ©2012 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cross-Priming / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / virology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / metabolism
  • Interleukin-3 / pharmacology
  • Measles Vaccine / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / immunology
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplasms / virology
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy*
  • Phagocytosis / immunology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7 / metabolism


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-3
  • Measles Vaccine
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • TLR7 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7