CD4+ T Cells of Prostate Cancer Patients Have Decreased Immune Responses to Antigens Derived From SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein

Front Immunol. 2021 May 3:12:629102. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.629102. eCollection 2021.


The adaptive immune response to severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is important for vaccine development and in the recovery from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Men and cancer patients have been reported to be at higher risks of contracting the virus and developing the more severe forms of COVID-19. Prostate cancer (PCa) may be associated with both of these risks. We show that CD4+ T cells of SARS-CoV-2-unexposed patients with hormone-refractory (HR) metastatic PCa had decreased CD4+ T cell immune responses to antigens from SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein but not from the spiked glycoprotein of the 'common cold'-associated human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) as compared with healthy male volunteers who responded comparably to both HCoV-229E- and SARS-CoV-2-derived antigens. Moreover, the HCoV-229E spike glycoprotein antigen-elicited CD4+ T cell immune responses cross-reacted with the SARS-CoV-2 spiked glycoprotein antigens. PCa patients may have impaired responses to the vaccination, and the cross-reactivity can mediate antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of COVID-19. These findings highlight the potential for increased vulnerability of PCa patients to COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; HCoV-229E; SARS-CoV-2; prostate cancer; spike glycoprotein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Aged
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Coronavirus 229E, Human / immunology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2