CD27 stimulation unveils the efficacy of linked class I/II peptide vaccines in poorly immunogenic tumors by orchestrating a coordinated CD4/CD8 T cell response.
Despite their promise, tumor-specific peptide vaccines have limited efficacy. CD27 is a costimulatory molecule expressed on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that is important in immune activation. Here we determine if a novel CD27 agonist antibody (αhCD27) can enhance the antitumor T cell response and efficacy of peptide vaccines. We evaluated the effects of αhCD27 on the immunogenicity and antitumor efficacy of whole protein, class I-restricted, and class II-restricted peptide vaccines using a transgenic mouse expressing human CD27. We found that αhCD27 preferentially enhances the CD8+ T cell response in the setting of vaccines comprised of linked class I and II ovalbumin epitopes (SIINFEKL and TEWTSSNVMEERKIKV, respectively) compared to a peptide vaccine comprised solely of SIINFEKL, resulting in the antitumor efficacy of adjuvant αhCD27 against intracranial B16.OVA tumors when combined with vaccines containing linked class I/II ovalbumin epitopes. Indeed, we demonstrate that this efficacy is both CD8- and CD4-dependent and αhCD27 activity on ovalbumin-specific CD4+ T cells is necessary for its adjuvant effect. Importantly for clinical translation, a linked universal CD4+ helper epitope (tetanus P30) was sufficient to instill the efficacy of SIINFEKL peptide combined with αhCD27, eliminating the need for a tumor-specific class II-restricted peptide. This approach unveiled the efficacy of a class I-restricted peptide vaccine derived from the tumor-associated Trp2 antigen in mice bearing intracranial B16 tumors. CD27 agonist antibodies combined with peptide vaccines containing linked tumor-specific CD8+ epitopes and tumor-specific or universal CD4+ epitopes enhance the efficacy of active cancer immunotherapy.
Riccione, KA; He, L-Z; Fecci, PE; Norberg, PK; Suryadevara, CM; Swartz, A; Healy, P; Reap, E; Keler, T; Li, Q-J; Congdon, KL; Sanchez-Perez, L; Sampson, JH
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