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1.  A CASP-8 Mutation Recognized by Cytolytic T Lymphocytes on a Human Head and Neck Carcinoma  
Of the antigens recognized on human tumors by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes, all those defined thus far have been identified on melanoma or renal cell carcinoma. We report here the identification of an antigen recognized by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes on a human squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity. The antigen is encoded by a mutated form of the CASP-8 gene. This gene, also named FLICE or MACH, codes for protease caspase-8, which is required for induction of apoptosis through the Fas receptor and tumor necrosis factor receptor-1. The mutation, which was found in the tumor cells but not in the normal cells of the patient, modifies the stop codon and adds an Alu repeat to the coding region, thereby lengthening the protein by 88 amino acids. The ability of the altered protein to trigger apoptosis appears to be reduced relative to the normal caspase-8. The antigenic peptide is a nonamer presented by HLA-B*3503. The five last amino acids are encoded by the extension of the reading frame caused by the mutation. This, together with previous observations of CDK4 and β-catenin mutations, suggests that a significant fraction of the point mutations generating a tumor antigen also play a role in the tumoral transformation or progression.
PMCID: PMC2199018  PMID: 9271594
2.  TCR Gene Transfer: MAGE-C2/HLA-A2 and MAGE-A3/HLA-DP4 Epitopes as Melanoma-Specific Immune Targets 
Adoptive therapy with TCR gene-engineered T cells provides an attractive and feasible treatment option for cancer patients. Further development of TCR gene therapy requires the implementation of T-cell target epitopes that prevent “on-target” reactivity towards healthy tissues and at the same time direct a clinically effective response towards tumor tissues. Candidate epitopes that meet these criteria are MAGE-C2336-344/HLA-A2 (MC2/A2) and MAGE-A3243-258/HLA-DP4 (MA3/DP4). We molecularly characterized TCRαβ genes of an MC2/A2-specific CD8 and MA3/DP4-specific CD4 T-cell clone derived from melanoma patients who responded clinically to MAGE vaccination. We identified MC2/A2 and MA3/DP4-specific TCR-Vα3/Vβ28 and TCR-Vα38/Vβ2 chains and validated these TCRs in vitro upon gene transfer into primary human T cells. The MC2 and MA3 TCR were surface-expressed and mediated CD8 T-cell functions towards melanoma cell lines and CD4 T-cell functions towards dendritic cells, respectively. We intend to start testing these MAGE-specific TCRs in phase I clinical trial.
PMCID: PMC3287115  PMID: 22400038

Results 1-2 (2)