Benefits of gene transduction of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor in cancer vaccine using genetically modified dendritic cells

Toshiyasu Ojima, Makoto Iwahashi, Masaki Nakamura, Kenji Matsuda, Mikihito Nakamori, Kentaro Ueda, Teiji Naka, Masahiro Katsuda, Motoki Miyazawa, Hiroki Yamaue
International Journal of Oncology 2007, 31 (4): 931-9
Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a key cytokine for the generation and stimulation of dendritic cells (DCs), and it may also play a pivotal role in promoting the survival of DCs. In this study, the feasibility of creating a cancer vaccine using DCs adenovirally transduced with the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene and the GM-CSF gene was examined. In addition, the effect of the co-transduction of GM-CSF gene on the lifespan of these genetically modified DCs was determined. A cytotoxic assay using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-derived cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) was performed in a 4-h 51Cr release assay. The apoptosis of DCs was examined by TdT-mediated dUTP-FITC nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay. CEA-specific CTLs were generated from PBMCs stimulated with genetically modified DCs expressing CEA. The cytotoxicity of these CTLs was augmented by co-transduction of DCs with the GM-CSF gene. Co-transduction of the GM-CSF gene into DCs inhibited apoptosis of these DCs themselves via up-regulation of Bcl-x(L) expression, leading to the extension of the lifespan of these DCs. Furthermore, the transduction of the GM-CSF gene into DCs also suppressed the incidence of apoptosis of DCs induced by transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFbeta-1). Immunotherapy using these genetically modified DCs may therefore be useful with several advantages as follows: i) adenoviral toxicity to DCs can be reduced; ii) the lifespan of vaccinated DCs can be prolonged; and iii) GM-CSF may protect DCs from apoptosis induced by tumor-derived TGFbeta-1 in the regional lymph nodes.

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