Vaccination strategies incorporating the immunodominant HLA-A2-restricted HER2/neu-derived peptide 369-377 (HER2369-377) are increasingly utilized in HER2/neu-expressing cancer patients. The failure of postvaccination HER2369-377-spe-cific CD8+ T cells to recognize HLA-A2posHER2/neu-expressing cells in vitro, however, has been attributed to impaired MHC class I/HLA-A2 presentation observed in HER2/neu-overexpres-sing tumors. We reconcile this controversy by demonstrating that HER2369-377 is directly recognized by high functional avidity HER2369-377-specific CD8+ T cells - either genetically modified to express a novel HER2369-377 TCR or sensitized using HER2369-377-pulsed type 1-polarized dendritic cells (DC1) - on class I-abundant HER2ow buthigh not class I-deficient HER2 low cancer cells. Importantly, a critical cooperation between CD4+ T-helper type-1 (Th1) cytokines IFNγ/TNFα and HER2/neu-targeted antibody trastuzumab is necessary to restore class I expression in HER2high cancers, thereby facilitating recognition and lysis of these cells by HER2369-377-specific CD8+ T cells. Concomitant induction of PD-L1 on HER2/neu-expressing cells by IFNγ/TNF and trastuzumab, however, has minimal impact on DC1-sensitized HER2369-377-CD8+ T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Although activation of EGFR and HER3 signaling significantly abrogates IFNγ/TNFα and trastuzumab induced class I restoration, EGFR/HER3 receptor blockade rescues class I expression and ensuing HER2369-377-CD8+ cytotoxicity of HER2/neu-expressing cells. Thus, combinations of CD4+ Th1 immune interventions and multivalent targeting of HER family members may be required for optimal antiHER2/neu CD8+ T-cell-directed immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research