Human melanoma cell line MZ2-MEL expresses several antigens recognized by autologous cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones. We reported previously the identification of a gene, named MAGE-1, that codes for one of these antigens named MZ2-E. We show here that antigen MZ2-D, which is present on the same tumor, is encoded by another member of the MAGE gene family named MAGE-3. Like MAGE-1, MAGE-3 is composed of three exons and the large open reading frame is entirely located in the third exon. Its sequence shows 73% identity with MAGE-1. Like MZ2-E, antigen MZ2-D is presented by HLA-A1. The antigenic peptide of MZ2-D is a nonapeptide that is encoded by the sequence of MAGE-3 that is homologous to the MAGE-1 sequence coding for the MZ2-E peptide. Competition experiments using single Ala-substituted peptides indicated that amino acid residues Asp in position 3 and Tyr in position 9 were essential for binding of the MAGE-1 peptide to HLA-A1. Gene MAGE-3 is expressed in many tumors of several types, such as melanoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung carcinoma and breast carcinoma, but not in normal tissues except for testes. It is expressed in a larger proportion of melanoma samples than MAGE-1. MAGE-3 encoded antigens may therefore have a wide applicability for specific immunotherapy of melanoma patients.
We have reported the identification of human gene MAGE-1, which directs the expression of an antigen recognized on a melanoma by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL). We show here that CTL directed against this antigen, which was named MZ2-E, recognize a nonapeptide encoded by the third exon of gene MAGE-1. The CTL also recognize this peptide when it is presented by mouse cells transfected with an HLA-A1 gene, confirming the association of antigen MZ2-E with the HLA-A1 molecule. Other members of the MAGE gene family do not code for the same peptide, suggesting that only MAGE-1 produces the antigen recognized by the anti- MZ2-E CTL. Our results open the possibility of immunizing HLA-A1 patients whose tumor expresses MAGE-1 either with the antigenic peptide or with autologous antigen-presenting cells pulsed with the peptide.
In this study we used TEPITOPE, a new epitope prediction software, to identify sequence segments on the MAGE-3 protein with promiscuous binding to histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR molecules. Synthetic peptides corresponding to the identified sequences were synthesized and used to propagate CD4+ T cells from the blood of a healthy donor. CD4+ T cells strongly recognized MAGE-3281–295 and, to a lesser extent, MAGE-3141–155 and MAGE-3146–160. Moreover, CD4+ T cells proliferated in the presence of recombinant MAGE-3 after processing and presentation by autologous antigen presenting cells, demonstrating that the MAGE-3 epitopes recognized are naturally processed. CD4+ T cells, mostly of the T helper 1 type, showed specific lytic activity against HLA-DR11/MAGE-3–positive melanoma cells. Cold target inhibition experiments demonstrated indeed that the CD4+ T cells recognized MAGE-3281–295 in association with HLA-DR11 on melanoma cells. This is the first evidence that a tumor-specific shared antigen forms CD4+ T cell epitopes. Furthermore, we validated the use of algorithms for the prediction of promiscuous CD4+ T cell epitopes, thus opening the possibility of wide application to other tumor-associated antigens. These results have direct implications for cancer immunotherapy in the design of peptide-based vaccines with tumor-specific CD4+ T cell epitopes.
MAGE-3; CD4+ epitopes; melanoma; tumor vaccines; adoptive immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapy has become one of the most important therapeutic approaches to cancer in the past two decades. Tumor antigen-derived peptides have been widely used to elicit tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Antigen-specific CTLs induced by MAGE-derived peptides have proven to be highly efficacious in the prevention and treatment of various types of tumor. MAGE-n is a new member of the MAGE gene family and has been shown to be closely associated with hepatocellular carcinoma. It is highly homologous to the MAGE-A gene subfamily, particularly to MAGE-3 (93%). MAGE-n-derived peptide QLVFGIEVV is a novel HLA-A2.1-restricted CTL epitope that induces MAGE-n-specific CTLs in vitro. Identification of these CTL epitopes may lead to clinical applications of these peptides as cancer vaccines for patients with MAGE-n+/HLA-A2+ tumors. In the present study, HLA-A/A24-restricted CTL epitopes of antigen MAGE-n were predicted using the NetCTL1.2 Server on the web, COMB >0.85. The results showed that the NetCTL1.2 Server prediction method improved prediction efficacy and accuracy. Additionally, 8 HLA-A2- and 9 HLA-A24-restricted CTL epitope candidates (nonamers) derived from the tumor antigen MAGE-n were predicted. These nonamers, following identification via experimentation, may contribute to the development of potential antigen peptide tumor vaccines.
MAGE-n; HLA-A2/A24; cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitope; prediction
By stimulating human CD8+ T lymphocytes with autologous dendritic cells infected with an adenovirus encoding MAGE-3, we obtained a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone that recognized a new MAGE-3 antigenic peptide, AELVHFLLL, which is presented by HLA-B40. This peptide is also encoded by MAGE-12. The CTL clone recognized MAGE-3–expressing tumor cells only when they were first treated with IFN-γ. Since this treatment is known to induce the exchange of the three catalytic subunits of the proteasome to form the immunoproteasome, this result suggested that the processing of this MAGE-3 peptide required the immunoproteasome. Transfection experiments showed that the substitution of β5i (LMP7) for β5 is necessary and sufficient for producing the peptide, whereas a mutated form of β5i (LMP7) lacking the catalytically active site was ineffective. Mass spectrometric analyses of in vitro digestions of a long precursor peptide with either proteasome type showed that the immunoproteasome produced the antigenic peptide more efficiently, whereas the standard proteasome more efficiently introduced cleavages destroying the antigenic peptide. This is the first example of a tumor-specific antigen exclusively presented by tumor cells expressing the immunoproteasome.
β5i; proteasome; mass spectrometry; tumor; HLA-B40
Human melanoma MZ2-MEL expresses several distinct antigens that are recognized by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL). Some of these antigens are encoded by genes MAGE-1, MAGE-3, and BAGE, which are expressed in a large fraction of tumors of various histological types but are silent in normal adult tissues with the exception of testis. We report here the identification of the gene coding for MZ2-F, another antigen recognized by autologous CTL on MZ2-MEL cells. This gene, which was named GAGE-1, is not related to any presently known gene. It belongs to a family of genes that are expressed in a variety of tumors but not in normal tissues, except for the testis. Antigenic peptide YRPRPRRY, which is encoded by GAGE-1, is recognized by anti-MZ2-F CTL on class I molecule HLA-Cw6. The two genes of the GAGE family that code for this peptide, namely GAGE-1 and GAGE-2, are expressed in a significant proportion of melanomas (24%), sarcomas (25%), non-small cell lung cancers (19%), head and neck tumors (19%), and bladder tumors (12%). About 50% of melanoma patients carry on their tumor at least one of the presently defined antigens encoded by the MAGE, BAGE, and GAGE genes.
MAGE-A antigens belong to cancer/testis (CT) antigens that are expressed in tumors but not in normal tissues except testis and placenta. MAGE-A antigens and their epitope peptides have been used in tumor immunotherapy trials. MAGE-A4 antigen is extensively expressed in various histological types of tumors, so it represents an attractive target for tumor immunotherapy. In this study, we predicted HLA-A*0201-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes of MAGE-A4, followed by peptide/HLA-A*0201 affinity and complex stability assays. Of selected four peptides (designated P1, P2, P3, and P4), P1 (MAGE-A4286-294, KVLEHVVRV) and P3 (MAGE-A4272-280, FLWGPRALA) could elicit peptide-specific CTLs both in vitro from HLA-A*0201-positive PBMCs and in HLA-A*0201/Kb transgenic mice. And the induced CTLs could lyse target cells in an HLA-A*0201-restricted fashion, demonstrating that the two peptides are HLA-A*0201-restricted CTL epitopes and could serve as targets for therapeutic antitumoral vaccination.
We have analyzed the presentation of human histocompatability leukocyte antigen-A*0201–associated tumor peptide antigen MAGE-3271–279 by melanoma cells. We show that specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-recognizing cells transfected with a minigene encoding the preprocessed fragment MAGE-3271–279 failed to recognize cells expressing the full length MAGE-3 protein. Digestion of synthetic peptides extended at the NH2 or COOH terminus of MAGE-3271–279 with purified human proteasome revealed that the generation of the COOH terminus of the antigenic peptide was impaired. Surprisingly, addition of lactacystin to purified proteasome, though partially inhibitory, resulted in the generation of the antigenic peptide. Furthermore, treatment of melanoma cells expressing the MAGE-3 protein with lactacystin resulted in efficient lysis by MAGE-3271–279–specific CTL. We therefore postulate that the generation of antigenic peptides by the proteasome in cells can be modulated by the selective inhibition of certain of its enzymatic activities.
HLA class I molecule; antigen processing; melanoma cells; ubiquitin; mass spectrometry
MAGE gene family encodes peptides recognized by autologous cytotoxic T lymphocytes in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class-I restricted fashion. In the present study, we have performed reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the genes, as well as immunohistochemical analysis and Western blotting of MAGE-1 and -3 proteins in 33 surgically resected hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). MAGE-1 and -3 mRNAs were constitutively expressed exclusively in 78 and 42% of HCCs respectively. On immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies, 77B for MAGE-1 and 57B for MAGE-3, MAGE-1 and -3 proteins were recognized in cytoplasm of only six among 33 (18%) and two of 29 HCCs (7%) respectively. The distribution pattern was mostly focal in HCC nodules. By contrast, the Western blot analysis revealed that the MAGE-1 (46 kDa) and -3 proteins (48 kDa) were expressed in 80 and 60% of 15 HCCs examined respectively. The proteins of MAGE-1 and -3 were also expressed exclusively in HCCs regardless of the histological grading and clinical staging. Our results indicate that the detection of the genes by RT-PCR or the proteins by Western blotting is useful for differentiating early HCCs from non-cancerous lesions, and that the peptides derived from MAGE-1 and -3 proteins might be suitable targets for immunotherapy of human HCC. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
tumour-rejection antigen; cancer testis antigen; immunohistochemistry; Western blotting; immunotherapy
A subset of male germ line-specific genes, the MAGE-type genes, are activated in many human tumors, where they produce tumor-specific antigens recognized by cytolytic T lymphocytes. Previous studies on gene MAGE-A1 indicated that transcription factors regulating its expression are present in all tumor cell lines whether or not they express the gene. The analysis of two CpG sites located in the promoter showed a strong correlation between expression and demethylation. It was also shown that MAGE-A1 transcription was induced in cell cultures treated with demethylating agent 5′-aza-2′-deoxycytidine. We have now analyzed all of the CpG sites within the 5′ region of MAGE-A1 and show that for all of them, demethylation correlates with the transcription of the gene. We also show that the induction of MAGE-A1 with 5′-aza-2′-deoxycytidine is stable and that in all the cell clones it correlates with demethylation, indicating that demethylation is necessary and sufficient to produce expression. Conversely, transfection experiments with in vitro-methylated MAGE-A1 sequences indicated that heavy methylation suffices to stably repress the gene in cells containing the transcription factors required for expression. Most MAGE-type genes were found to have promoters with a high CpG content. Remarkably, although CpG-rich promoters are classically unmethylated in all normal tissues, those of MAGE-A1 and LAGE-1 were highly methylated in somatic tissues. In contrast, they were largely unmethylated in male germ cells. We conclude that MAGE-type genes belong to a unique subset of germ line-specific genes that use DNA methylation as a primary silencing mechanism.
Anti-tumor CTLs recognize peptides derived from cellular proteins and presented on MHC class I. One category of peptides recognized by these CTLs is derived from proteins encoded by “cancer-germline” genes, which are specifically expressed in tumors, and therefore represent optimal targets for cancer immunotherapy. Here, we identify an antigenic peptide, which is derived from the MAGE-A1-encoded protein (160-169) and presented to CTLs by HLA-B*44:02. Although this peptide is encoded by MAGE-A1, processed endogenously and presented by tumor cells, the corresponding synthetic peptide is hardly able to sensitize target cells to CTL recognition when pulsed exogenously. Endogenous processing and presentation of this peptide is strictly dependent on the presence of tapasin, which is believed to help peptide loading by stabilizing a peptide-receptive form of HLA-B*44:02. Exogenous loading of the peptide can be dramatically improved by paraformaldehyde fixation of surface molecules or by peptide loading at acidic pH. Either strategy allows efficient exogenous loading of the peptide, presumably by generating or stabilizing a peptide-receptive, empty conformation of the HLA. Altogether, our results indicate a potential drawback of short peptide-based vaccination strategies and offer possible solutions regarding the use of problematic epitopes such as the one described here.
Cytolytic T lymphocytes; MAGE-A1; HLA-B*4402; tumor antigen
The MAGE antigens are frequently expressed cancer vaccine targets. However, quantitative analysis of MAGE expression in upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) tumor cells and its association with T cell recognition has not been performed, hindering the selection of appropriate candidates for MAGE specific immunotherapy. Using quantitative RT-PCR (QRT-PCR), we evaluated the expression of MAGE-3/6 in 65 UADT cancers, 48 normal samples from tumor matched sites and 7 HLA-A*0201+squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) cell lines. Expression results were confirmed using western blot. HLA-A*0201:MAGE-3(271–279) specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (MAGE-CTL) from SCCHN patients and healthy donors showed that MAGE-3/6 expression was highly associated with CTL recognition in vitro. Based on MAGE-3/6 expression we could identify 31 (47%) of the 65 UADT tumors which appeared to express MAGE-3/6 at levels that correlated with efficient CTL recognition. To confirm that the level of MAGE-3 expression was responsible for CTL recognition, two MAGE-3/6 mRNAhigh SCCHN cell lines, PCI-13 and PCI-30, were subjected to MAGE-3/6 specific knockdown. RNAi–transfected cells showed that MAGE expression, and MAGE-CTL recognition, were significantly reduced. Furthermore, treatment of cells expressing low MAGE-3/6 mRNA with a demethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC), increased the expression of MAGE-3/6 and CTL recognition. Thus, using QRT-PCR UADT cancers frequently express MAGE-3/6 at levels sufficient for CTL recognition, supporting the use of a QRT-PCR based assay for the selection of candidates likely to respond to MAGE-3/6 immunotherapy. Demethylating agents could increase the number of patients amenable for targeting epigenetically modified tumor antigens in vaccine trials.
MAGE; Head and neck cancer; T cells; QRT-PCR
Immunotherapy targeting MAGE-A3 in multiple myeloma (MM) could eradicate highly aggressive and proliferative clonal cell populations responsible for relapse. However, expression of many cancer-testis antigens, including MAGE-A3, can be heterogeneous, leading to the potential for tumor escape despite MAGE-A3-induced immunity. We hypothesized that a combination of the hypomethylating agent 5-azacitidine (5AC) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) MGCD0103 (MGC) could induce MAGE-A3 expression in MAGE-A3-negative MM, resulting in recognition and killing of MM cells by MAGE-A3-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL).
Gene expression analyses of MAGE-A3 expression in primary MM patient samples at diagnosis and relapse were completed to identify populations that would benefit from MAGE-A3 immunotherapy. MM cell lines were treated with 5AC and MGC. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting were performed to assess MAGE-A3 RNA and protein levels, respectively. Chromium-release assays and interferon (IFN) secretion assays were employed to ascertain MAGE-A3 CTL specificity against treated targets.
Gene expression analysis revealed that MAGE-A3 is expressed in MM patients at diagnosis (25%) and at relapse (49%). We observed de novo expression of MAGE-A3 RNA and protein in MAGE-A3-negative cell lines treated with 5AC. MGC treatment alone did not induce expression but sequential 5AC/MGC treatment led to enhanced expression and augmented recognition by MAGE-A3-specific CTL, as assessed by 51Cr-release assays (P = 0.047) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IFN-γ secretion (P = 0.004).
MAGE-A3 is an attractive target for immunotherapy of MM and epigenetic modulation by 5AC, and MGC can induce MAGE-A3 expression and facilitate killing by MAGE-A3-specific CTL.
5-azacitidine; cancer-testis antigen; demethylation; epigenetics; histone deactylase inhibitor; hypomethylation; MAGE-A3; MGCD0103; multiple myeloma
T helper type 1 (Th1)-type CD4+ antitumor T cell help appears critical to the induction and maintenance of antitumor cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses in vivo. In contrast, Th2- or Th3/Tr-type CD4+ T cell responses may subvert Th1-type cell-mediated immunity, providing a microenvironment conducive to disease progression. We have recently identified helper T cell epitopes derived from the MAGE-6 gene product; a tumor-associated antigen expressed by most melanomas and renal cell carcinomas. In this study, we have assessed whether peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from human histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLA)-DRβ1*0401+ patients are Th1- or Th2-biased to MAGE-6 epitopes using interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-5 enzyme-linked immunospot assays, respectively. Strikingly, the vast majority of patients with active disease were highly-skewed toward Th2-type responses against MAGE-6–derived epitopes, regardless of their stage (stage I versus IV) of disease, but retained Th1-type responses against Epstein-Barr virus– or influenza-derived epitopes. In marked contrast, normal donors and cancer patients with no current evidence of disease tended to exhibit either mixed Th1/Th2 or strongly Th1-polarized responses to MAGE-6 peptides, respectively. CD4+ T cell secretion of IL-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 against MAGE-6 peptides was not observed, suggesting that specific Th3/Tr-type CD4+ subsets were not common events in these patients. Our data suggest that immunotherapeutic approaches will likely have to overcome or complement systemic Th2-dominated, tumor-reactive CD4+ T cell responses to provide optimal clinical benefit.
melanoma; renal cell carcinoma; helper T lymphocyte; MAGE-6; epitope
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are highly effective and versatile molecules in promoting anti-tumor immune responses. We tested whether a HSP-based DNA vaccine can induce effective immune response against Mage3, a cancer testis (CT) antigen frequently expressed in many human tumors, thereby controlling the Mage3-expressing tumor. The vaccine was constructed by linking human inducible HSP70 to the C-terminus of a modified Mage3 gene (sMage3) that was attached at its N-terminus with the signal leader sequence of the human RANTES for releasing the expressed fusion protein from the transduced cells. Intramuscular injection of sMage3Hsp DNA induced CD4+/CD8+ T cell and antibody responses. Vaccination with sMage3Hsp DNA was more effective in inhibiting Mage3-expressing TC-1 tumors. When we dissected the antitumor activity of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by immunizing CD4+ and CD8+ knockout mice with sMage3Hsp DNA, we found that both CD8+ T and CD4+ T cells played a role in control of inoculated tumor, but did not constitute the whole of immune protection in the prophylactic immunization. Instead, depletion of natural killer (NK) cells led to a major loss of anti-tumor activity in the immunized mice. These results indicate that the HSP-based Mage3 DNA vaccine can more effectively inhibit tumor growth by inducing both the innate immune responses and Mage3-specific adaptive immune responses via the Hsp-associated adjuvant function.
The evolutionary mode of a multi-gene family can change over time, depending on the functional differentiation and local genomic environment of family members. In this study, we demonstrate such a change in the melanoma antigen (MAGE) gene family on the mammalian X chromosome. The MAGE gene family is composed of ten subfamilies that can be categorized into two types. Type I genes are of relatively recent origin, and they encode epitopes for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) in cancer cells. Type II genes are relatively ancient and some of their products are known to be involved in apoptosis or cell proliferation. The evolutionary history of the MAGE gene family can be divided into four phases. In phase I, a single-copy state of an ancestral gene and the evolutionarily conserved mode had lasted until the emergence of eutherian mammals. In phase II, eight subfamily ancestors, with the exception for MAGE-C and MAGE-D subfamilies, were formed via retrotransposition independently. This would coincide with a transposition burst of LINE elements at the eutherian radiation. However, MAGE-C was generated by gene duplication of MAGE-A. Phase III is characterized by extensive gene duplication within each subfamily and in particular the formation of palindromes in the MAGE-A subfamily, which occurred in an ancestor of the Catarrhini. Phase IV is characterized by the decay of a palindrome in most Catarrhini, with the exception of humans. Although the palindrome is truncated by frequent deletions in apes and Old World monkeys, it is retained in humans. Here, we argue that this human-specific retention stems from negative selection acting on MAGE-A genes encoding epitopes of cancer cells, which preserves their ability to bind to highly divergent HLA molecules. These findings are interpreted with consideration of the biological factors shaping recent human MAGE-A genes.
Melanoma-associated antigens (MAGEs) were initially identified in melanoma and have since been widely studied. Melanoma-associated antigen-As (MAGE-As), a subfamily of MAGEs, are expressed in germ cells and various types of cancer, and are considered to be ideal targets for cancer immunotherapy. Glial cells and melanocytes originate from the neural ectoderm, so tumors derived from these two types of cells, i.e. gliomas and melanomas, may have common biological characteristics. However, studies on the expression of the MAGE-A family in gliomas are limited and conflicting. In the present study, the expression levels of MAGE-A1, -A3 and -A11 were detected by immunohistochemistry, and the association of their expression levels with the clinicopathological parameters, overall survival (OS) and ki-67 labeling indices of glioma patients were analyzed. The results showed that i) the expression levels of MAGE-A1, -A3 and -A11 proteins in the glioma tissues were 64.1, 51.3 and 57.7%, respectively and that no MAGE-A1, -A3 or -A11 expression was detected in the normal brain specimens; ii) the expression levels of MAGE-A1 and -A11 increased with ascending pathological grades and were positively correlated with the ki-67 labeling index; and iii) the OS of the patients in the groups with high MAGE-A1 (P=0.005) and -A11 (P=0.019) expression was statistically lower compared with the groups with low expression and no significant differences in OS were detected between the patients in the groups with high and low MAGE-A3 expression (P=0.304). Based on these results, we conclude that MAGE-A1, -A3 and -A11 may be used as ideal targets for glioma immunotherapy, and that MAGE-A1 and -A11 expression may be involved in tumor cell proliferation. These proteins may be potential indicators of a poor prognosis in glioma patients.
melanoma-associated antigen-A1; melanoma-associated antigen-A3; melanoma-associated antigen-A11; glioma; prognosis
Cancer-germline genes (CGGs) code for immunogenic antigens that are present in various human tumors and can be targeted by immunotherapy. Their expression has been studied in a wide range of human tumors in adults. We measured the expression of 12 CGGs in pediatric brain tumors, to identify targets for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Real Time PCR was used to quantify the expression of genes MAGE-A1, MAGE-A2, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A6, MAGE-A10, MAGE-A12, MAGE-C2, NY-ESO-1 and GAGE-1,2,8 in 50 pediatric brain tumors of different histological subtypes. Protein expression was examined with immunohistochemistry. Fifty-five percent of the medulloblastomas (n = 11), 86% of the ependymomas (n = 7), 40% of the choroid plexus tumors (n = 5) and 67% of astrocytic tumors (n = 27) expressed one or more CGGs. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed qPCR results. With exception of a minority of tumors, the overall level of CGG expression in pediatric brain tumors was low. We observed a high expression of at least one CGG in 32% of the samples. CGG-encoded antigens are therefore suitable targets in a very selected group of pediatric patients with a brain tumor. Interestingly, glioblastomas from adult patients expressed CGGs more often and at significantly higher levels compared to pediatric glioblastomas. This observation is in line with the notion that pediatric and adult glioblastomas develop along different genetic pathways.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11060-008-9577-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Brain tumor; Pediatrics; qPCR; MAGE; NY-ESO-1; Immune target
Melanoma antigen family (MAGE) genes are widely expressed in various tumor types but silent in normal cells except germ-line cells lacking human leukocyte antigen (HLA) expression. Over 25 MAGE genes have been identified in different tissues, mostly located in Xq28 of human chromosome and some of them in chromosome 3 and 15, containing either single or multiple-exons. This in silico study predicted the genes on hTERT location and identified a distant relative of MAGE gene located on chromosome 5. The study identified a single exon coding ~850 residues polypeptide sharing ~30% homology with Macfa-MAGE E1 and hMAGE-E1. dbEST search of the predicted transcript matches 5′ and 3′ flanking ESTs. The predicted protein showed sequence homology within the MAGE homology domain 2 (MHD2). UCSC genome annotation of CpG Island around the coding region reveals that this gene could be silent by methylation. Affymetrix all-exon track indicates the gene could be expressed in different tissues particularly in cancer cells as they widely undergo a genome wide demethylation process.
telomerase; melanoma antigen; gene prediction; EST; ORF
BACKGROUND: A number of tumors express antigens that are recognized by specific cytotoxic T cells. The normal host immune responses, however, are not usually sufficient to cause tumor rejection. Using appropriate immunization strategies, tumor-specific antigens may serve as targets against which tumor-destructive immune responses can be generated. MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 are two clinically relevant antigens expressed in many human melanomas and other tumors, but not in normal tissues, except testis. Here, we have investigated whether DNA and cellular vaccines against MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 can induce antigen-specific anti-tumor immunity and cause rejection of MAGE-expressing tumors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mice were immunized against MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 by subcutaneous injection of genetically modified embryonic fibroblasts or intramuscular injection of purified DNA. Mice were injected with lethal doses of B16 melanoma cells expressing the corresponding MAGE antigens or the unrelated protein SIV tat, and tumor development and survival were monitored. RESULTS: Intramuscular expression of MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 by plasmid DNA injection and subcutaneous immunization with syngeneic mouse embryonic fibroblasts transduced with recombinant retroviruses to express these antigens induced specific immunity against tumors expressing MAGE-1 and MAGE-3. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were required for anti-tumor immunity. Coexpression of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or B7-1 significantly increased anti-tumor immunity in an antigen-specific manner and resulted in a considerable proportion of mice surviving lethal tumor challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that genetic and cellular vaccines against MAGE and other tumor antigens may be useful for the therapy of tumors expressing specific markers, and that GM-CSF and B7-1 are potent stimulators for the induction of antigen-specific tumor immunity.
DC derived-exosomes are nanomeric vesicles harboring functional MHC/peptide complexes capable of promoting T cell immune responses and tumor rejection. Here we report the feasability and safety of the first Phase I clinical trial using autologous exosomes pulsed with MAGE 3 peptides for the immunization of stage III/IV melanoma patients. Secondary endpoints were the monitoring of T cell responses and the clinical outcome.
Patients and methods
Exosomes were purified from day 7 autologous monocyte derived-DC cultures. Fifteen patients fullfilling the inclusion criteria (stage IIIB and IV, HLA-A1+, or -B35+ and HLA-DPO4+ leukocyte phenotype, tumor expressing MAGE3 antigen) were enrolled from 2000 to 2002 and received four exosome vaccinations. Two dose levels of either MHC class II molecules (0.13 versus 0.40 × 1014 molecules) or peptides (10 versus 100 μg/ml) were tested. Evaluations were performed before and 2 weeks after immunization. A continuation treatment was performed in 4 cases of non progression.
The GMP process allowed to harvest about 5 × 1014 exosomal MHC class II molecules allowing inclusion of all 15 patients. There was no grade II toxicity and the maximal tolerated dose was not achieved. One patient exhibited a partial response according to the RECIST criteria. This HLA-B35+/A2+ patient vaccinated with A1/B35 defined CTL epitopes developed halo of depigmentation around naevi, a MART1-specific HLA-A2 restricted T cell response in the tumor bed associated with progressive loss of HLA-A2 and HLA-BC molecules on tumor cells during therapy with exosomes. In addition, one minor, two stable and one mixed responses were observed in skin and lymph node sites. MAGE3 specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses could not be detected in peripheral blood.
The first exosome Phase I trial highlighted the feasibility of large scale exosome production and the safety of exosome administration.
exosomes; dendritic cells; phase I trial; cancer vaccine; immunotherapy
There is a continued need to develop more effective cancer immunotherapy strategies. Exosomes, cell-derived lipid vesicles that express high levels of a narrow spectrum of cell proteins represent a novel platform for delivering high levels of antigen in conjunction with costimulatory molecules. We performed this study to test the safety, feasibility and efficacy of autologous dendritic cell (DC)-derived exosomes (DEX) loaded with the MAGE tumor antigens in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
This Phase I study enrolled HLA A2+ patients with pre-treated Stage IIIb (N = 4) and IV (N = 9) NSCLC with tumor expression of MAGE-A3 or A4. Patients underwent leukapheresis to generate DC from which DEX were produced and loaded with MAGE-A3, -A4, -A10, and MAGE-3DPO4 peptides. Patients received 4 doses of DEX at weekly intervals.
Thirteen patients were enrolled and 9 completed therapy. Three formulations of DEX were evaluated; all were well tolerated with only grade 1–2 adverse events related to the use of DEX (injection site reactions (N = 8), flu like illness (N = 1), and peripheral arm pain (N = 1)). The time from the first dose of DEX until disease progression was 30 to 429+ days. Three patients had disease progression before the first DEX dose. Survival of patients after the first DEX dose was 52–665+ days. DTH reactivity against MAGE peptides was detected in 3/9 patients. Immune responses were detected in patients as follows: MAGE-specific T cell responses in 1/3, increased NK lytic activity in 2/4.
Production of the DEX vaccine was feasible and DEX therapy was well tolerated in patients with advanced NSCLC. Some patients experienced long term stability of disease and activation of immune effectors
Melanoma antigen D1 (MAGED1) is a member of the type II melanoma antigen (MAGE) family. The down-regulation of MAGED1 expression has been shown in breast carcinoma cell lines and in glioma stem cells and may play an important role in apoptosis and anti-tumorigenesis. However, there is no report on its clinical role in colorectal cancer (CRC).
We examined the expression of MAGED1 by qPCR in colorectal cancer tissues and their adjacent non-tumorous tissues taken from 6 cases and performed Western blotting and IHC analyses. In addition, we analyzed MAGED1 expression in 285 clinicopathologically characterized colorectal cancer patients.
MAGED1 expression was significantly down-regulated in colorectal cancer tissues compared with adjacent non-tumorous tissues and was associated with clinical stage (p < 0.001), T classification (p = 0.001), N classification (p < 0.001), M classification (p < 0.001) and pathologic differentiation (p = 0.002). Patients with lower MAGED1 expression had a shorter survival time than those with higher MAGED1 expression. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that MAGED1 expression was an independent prognostic factors (p < 0.001).
MAGED1 may serve as a novel prognostic biomarker of human colorectal cancer.
MAGED1; Colorectal cancer; Melanoma antigen and prognosis
MAGE-A1 belongs to a family of 12 genes that are active in various types of tumors and silent in normal tissues except in male germ-line cells. The MAGE-encoded antigens recognized by T cells are highly tumor-specific targets for T cell-oriented cancer immunotherapy. The function of MAGE-A1 is currently unknown. To analyze it, we attempted to identify protein partners of MAGE-A1. Using yeast two-hybrid screening, we detected an interaction between MAGE-A1 and Ski Interacting Protein (SKIP). SKIP is a transcriptional regulator that connects DNA-binding proteins to proteins that either activate or repress transcription. We show that MAGE-A1 inhibits the activity of a SKIP-interacting transactivator, namely the intracellular part of Notch1. Deletion analysis indicated that this inhibition requires the binding of MAGE-A1 to SKIP. Moreover, MAGE-A1 was found to actively repress transcription by binding and recruiting histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1). Our results indicate that by binding to SKIP and by recruiting HDACs, MAGE-A1 can act as a potent transcriptional repressor. MAGE-A1 could therefore participate in the setting of specific gene expression patterns for tumor cell growth or spermatogenesis.
The goal of tumor immunotherapy is to elicit immune responses against autologous tumors. It would be highly desirable that such responses include multiple T cell clones against multiple tumor antigens. This could be obtained using the antigen presenting capacity of dendritic cells (DCs) and cross-priming. That is, one could load the DC with tumor lines of any human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) type to elicit T cell responses against the autologous tumor. In this study, we show that human DCs derived from monocytes and loaded with killed melanoma cells prime naive CD45RA+CD27+CD8+ T cells against the four shared melanoma antigens: MAGE-3, gp100, tyrosinase, and MART-1. HLA-A201+ naive T cells primed by DCs loaded with HLA-A201− melanoma cells are able to kill several HLA-A201+ melanoma targets. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte priming towards melanoma antigens is also obtained with cells from metastatic melanoma patients. This demonstration of cross-priming against shared tumor antigens builds the basis for using allogeneic tumor cell lines to deliver tumor antigens to DCs for vaccination protocols.
shared tumor antigens; cross-priming; tumor immunity; tumor vaccine; immunotherapy