Alloantigen-activated (AAA) CD4+ T cells reinvigorate host endogenous T cell immunity to eliminate pre-established tumors in mice

Kazuhiro Mochizuki, Shogo Kobayashi, Nobuhisa Takahashi, Kotaro Sugimoto, Hideki Sano, Yoshihiro Ohara, Shin Mineishi, Yi Zhang, Atsushi Kikuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cancer vaccines that induce endogenous antitumor immunity represent an ideal strategy to overcome intractable cancers. However, doing this against a pre-established cancer using autologous immune cells has proven to be challenging. “Allogeneic effects” refers to the induction of an endogenous immune response upon adoptive transfer of allogeneic lymphocytes without utilizing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. While allogeneic lymphocytes have a potent ability to activate host immunity as a cell adjuvant, novel strategies that can activate endogenous antitumor activity in cancer patients remain an unmet need. In this study, we established a new method to destroy pre-developed tumors and confer potent antitumor immunity in mice using alloantigen-activated CD4+ (named AAA-CD4+) T cells. Methods: AAA-CD4+ T cells were generated from CD4+ T cells isolated from BALB/c mice in cultures with dendritic cells (DCs) induced from C57BL/6 (B6) mice. In this culture, allogeneic CD4+ T cells that recognize and react to B6 mouse-derived alloantigens are preferentially activated. These AAA-CD4+ T cells were directly injected into the pre-established melanoma in B6 mice to assess their ability to elicit antitumor immunity in vivo. Results: Upon intratumoral injection, these AAA-CD4+ T cells underwent a dramatic expansion in the tumor and secreted high levels of IFN-γ and IL-2. This was accompanied by markedly increased infiltration of host-derived CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, DCs, and type-1 like macrophages. Selective depletion of host CD8+ T cells, rather than NK cells, abrogated this therapeutic effect. Thus, intratumoral administration of AAA-CD4+ T cells results in a robust endogenous CD8+ T cell response that destroys pre-established melanoma. This locally induced antitumor immunity elicited systemic protection to eliminate tumors at distal sites, persisted over 6 months in vivo, and protected the animals from tumor re-challenge. Notably, the injected AAA-CD4+ T cells disappeared within 7 days and caused no adverse reactions. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that AAA-CD4+ T cells reinvigorate endogenous cytotoxic T cells to eradicate pre-established melanoma and induce long-term protective antitumor immunity. This approach can be immediately applied to patients with advanced melanoma and may have broad implications in the treatment of other types of solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number314
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Alloantigen-activated (AAA) CD4+ T cells reinvigorate host endogenous T cell immunity to eliminate pre-established tumors in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this