Induction of protective immune responses against NXS2 neuroblastoma challenge in mice by immunotherapy with GD2 mimotope vaccine and IL-15 and IL-21 gene delivery

Aleksandra Kowalczyk, Andrzej Wierzbicki, Margaret Gil, Barbara Bambach, Yutaro Kaneko, Hanna Rokita, Elizabeth Repasky, Robert Fenstermaker, Martin Brecher, Michael Ciesielski, Danuta Kozbor
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy: CII 2007, 56 (9): 1443-58
The GD2 ganglioside expressed on neuroectodermal tumor cells is weakly immunogenic in tumor-bearing patients and induces predominantly IgM antibody responses in the immunized host. Using a syngeneic mouse challenge model with GD2-expressing NXS2 neuroblastoma, we investigated novel strategies for augmenting the effector function of GD2-specific antibody responses induced by a mimotope vaccine. We demonstrated that immunization of A/J mice with DNA vaccine expressing the 47-LDA mimotope of GD2 in combination with IL-15 and IL-21 genes enhanced the induction of GD2 cross-reactive IgG2 antibody responses that exhibited cytolytic activity against NXS2 cells. The combined immunization regimen delivered 1 day after tumor challenge inhibited subcutaneous (s.c.) growth of NXS2 neuroblastoma in A/J mice. The vaccine efficacy was reduced after depletion of NK cells as well as CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes suggesting involvement of innate and adaptive immune responses in mediating the antitumor activity in vivo. CD8(+) T cells isolated from the immunized and cured mice were cytotoxic against syngeneic neuroblastoma cells but not against allogeneic EL4 lymphoma, and exhibited antitumor activity after adoptive transfer in NXS2-challenged mice. We also demonstrated that coimmunization of NXS2-challenged mice with the IL-15 and IL-21 gene combination resulted in enhanced CD8(+) T cell function that was partially independent of CD4(+) T cell help in inhibiting tumor growth. This study is the first demonstration that the mimotope vaccine of a weakly immunogenic carbohydrate antigen in combination with plasmid-derived IL-15 and IL-21 cytokines induces both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system leading to the generation of effective protection against neuroblastoma challenge.


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