Intravaginal and Subcutaneous Immunization Induced Vaccine Specific CD8 T Cells and Tumor Regression in the Bladder

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Vaccines targeting tumor associated antigens are in development for bladder cancer. Most of these cancers are nonmuscle invasive at diagnosis and confined in the mucosa and submucosa. However, to our knowledge how vaccination may induce the regression of tumors at such mucosal sites has not been examined previously. We compared different immunization routes for the ability to induce vaccine specific antitumor CD8 T cells in the bladder and bladder tumor regression in mice.

Materials and Methods

In the absence of a murine bladder tumor model expressing a tumor antigen relevant for human use we established an orthotopic model expressing the HPV-16 tumor antigen E7 as a model. We used an adjuvant E7 polypeptide to induce CD8 T cell mediated tumor regression.


Subcutaneous and intravaginal but not intranasal vaccination induced a high number of TetE7+CD8+ T cells in the bladder as well as bladder tumor regression. The entry of vaccine specific T cells in the bladder was not the only key since persistent regression of established bladder tumors by intravaginal or subcutaneous immunization was associated with tumor infiltration of total CD4 and CD8 T cells. This resulted in an increase in TetE7+CD8+ T cells and a decrease in T regulatory cells, leading to an increased number of effector interferon-γ secreting vaccine specific CD8 T cells in the regressing bladder tumor.


These data show that immunization routes should be tailored to each mucosal tumor site. Subcutaneous or intravaginal vaccination may be of additional value to treat patients with bladder cancer.

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