CD25+ Regulatory T Cell Inhibition Enhances Vaccine-induced Immunity to Neuroblastoma

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Evidence that CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells play a role in the progression of cancer continues to mount. There is a great deal of interest as to whether transient elimination or functional inhibition of these cells can improve the efficacy of immunotherapy for cancer. Our goals in this study were to test whether treatment of mice with anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody (mAb) (PC61) could induce rejection of a murine neuroblastoma, whether anti-CD25 treatment could increase tumor immunity when administered just before cell-based vaccination, and to learn how anti-CD25 treatment influences the vaccine-induced antitumor response. Treatment of mice with anti-CD25 mAb induced rejection of the mouse neuroblastoma, Neuro-2a, as 90% of anti-CD25-treated mice survived challenge with a lethal dose of tumor cells. In vivo anti-CD25 mAb treatment before the first of 2 weekly vaccines significantly improved the survival of tumor-vaccinated/challenged mice (75% vs. 33% survival), whereas antibody treatment before each of the 2 vaccines did not, suggesting that excessive treatment with anti-CD25 mAb interferes with activated antitumor effector cells. A detailed phenotypic analysis of tissues from anti-CD25-treated mice indicated that the antibody partially depletes CD4+Foxp3+ Treg cells (25% to 40%) in A/J mice, and that the antibody may inhibit the remaining cells by inducing loss of CD25 expression and blocking CD25 molecules, partially confirming recent data from other investigators. Importantly, we found that in vivo anti-CD25 mAb treatment significantly decreased the contribution of asialo GM1+ cells in the antitumor response. As we did not see a direct effect of anti-CD25 mAb on in vitro assays of immune cell function in spleen cells from treated animals, this indicates that inhibition of Treg cells amplifies the immune response in vivo in a manner that bypasses the requirement for innate immune activation, potentially mediated by natural killer cells, and allows for protective CD4+ and CD8+ cells to expand directly in response to cell-based vaccines.

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