Breast cancer and T-cell-mediated immunity to proteins of the mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV)

Eur Cytokine Netw. Mar-Apr 1993;4(2):153-60.


We have previously reported that breast cancer patients and some healthy subjects show positive T-cell-mediated immune responses to a semi-purified mouse mammary tumour viral pool (MMTV). We have now used Western blotting to analyse the specificity of the response and to determine the target polypeptides. Two types of T-cell response to the viral antigens were examined, proliferation and MIF release, the latter implies a DTH status in vivo where primed lymphocytes are involved. Two viral fractions were used, one containing a glycoprotein, the 52 kD major virus envelope, and the other containing the 28 kD main virus core protein. We analysed both patients and healthy subjects whose T-cells proliferated to the MMTV total extract (viral pool). The T-cell response in the patients was shown to be viral specific since both the T-cell proliferation (21/25) and MIF release (17/19) were directed against viral components of the pool (gp 52 and/or p 28). The T-cell response in the healthy control subjects was shown to be mostly directed against a species-specific albumin component of the extract. In addition, the monocyte integrity required for the MIF response was altered in the breast cancer patients. The monocytes from one patient out of three failed to respond to MIF, even though the lymphokine was released normally by the patients' activated T-cells.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor / isolation & purification
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / metabolism
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / immunology*
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Retroviridae Proteins / immunology*
  • Retroviridae Proteins / isolation & purification
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / isolation & purification


  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Retroviridae Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein 52 antigen, Mouse mammary tumor virus