B cells inhibit induction of T cell-dependent tumor immunity

Nat Med. 1998 May;4(5):627-30. doi: 10.1038/nm0598-627.


Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) mediated tumor immunity against major histocompatibility antigen (MHC) class I-positive but class II-negative tumors often requires help from CD4+ T cells. These CD4 cells are activated by MHC class II-positive cells that present tumor derived antigens. Considering that different antigen presenting cells, such as B cells, macrophages and dendritic cells compete for antigen and influence the outcome of an immune response, we analyzed tumor immunity in B cell-deficient mice. These mice appear normal with regard to T cell immunity and tolerance to some pure foreign antigens. We show here that the low immunogenicity of tumors is caused by B cells whose presence in the priming phase results in disabled CD4+ T cell help for CTL mediated tumor immunity. Instead, in the presence of B cells, a non-protective humoral immune response is induced. Our results may explain the enigmatic observation that tumor-reactive antibodies occur frequently in cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / blood
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm