Key words Breast cancer
CD4+ T cells
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) were derived from primary breast tumors, metastatic lymph nodes and malignant pleural effusions from 34 patients with breast cancer. TIL were cultured for approximately 30 days and studied for phenotype, cytotoxicity, and the ability to secrete cytokines in response to autologous tumor stimulation. Tumor specimens were obtained from two different sites in 7 patients, resulting in 41 samples from which 38 TIL cultures were established. In addition to screening 38 bulk TIL cultures, TIL from 21 patients were separated into CD4+ and CD8+ subsets and extensively studied. Three CD4+ TIL were found specifically to secrete granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor and tumor necrosis factor α when stimulated by autologous tumor and not by a large panel of stimulators (24–34) consist- ing of autologous normal cells, allogeneic breast or melanoma tumors and EBV-B cells. This cytokine release was found to be MHC-class-II-restricted, as it was inhibited by the anti-HLA-DR antibody L243. These 3 patients’ EBV-B cells, when pulsed with tumor lysates, were unable to act as antigen-presenting cells and induce cytokine secretion by their respective CD4+ TIL. These findings demonstrate that MHC-class-II-restricted CD4+ T cells recognising tumor-associated antigens can be detected in some breast cancer patients.
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