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Hematology - Immunology - Oncology

Repertoire Enhancement with Adoptively Transferred Female Lymphocytes Controls the Growth of Pre-Implanted Murine Prostate Cancer
Published: Friday, April 06, 2012
Author: Robert R. Jenq et al.

by Robert R. Jenq, Michael A. Curran, Gabrielle L. Goldberg, Chen Liu, James P. Allison, Marcel R. M. van den Brink


In prostate cancer, genes encoding androgen-regulated, Y-chromosome-encoded, and tissue-specific antigens may all be overexpressed. In the adult male host, however, most high affinity T cells targeting these potential tumor rejection antigens will be removed during negative selection. In contrast, the female mature T-cell repertoire should contain abundant precursors capable of recognizing these classes of prostate cancer antigens and mediating effective anti-tumor immune responses.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We find that syngeneic TRAMP-C2 prostatic adenocarcinoma cells are spontaneously rejected in female hosts. Adoptive transfer of naïve female lymphocytes to irradiated male hosts bearing pre-implanted TRAMP-C2 tumor cells slows tumor growth and mediates tumor rejection in some animals. The success of this adoptive transfer was dependent on the transfer of female CD4 T cells and independent of the presence of CD25-expressing regulatory T cells in the transferred lymphocytes. We identify in female CD4 T cells stimulated with TRAMP-C2 a dominant MHC II-restricted response to the Y-chromosome antigen DBY. Furthermore, CD8 T cell responses in female lymphocytes to the immunodominant MHC I-restricted antigen SPAS-1 are markedly increased compared to male mice. Finally, we find no exacerbation of graft-versus-host disease in either syngeneic or minor-antigen mismatched allogeneic lymphocyte adoptive transfer models by using female into male versus male into male cells.


This study shows that adoptively transferred female lymphocytes, particularly CD4 T cells, can control the outgrowth of pre-implanted prostatic adenocarcinoma cells. This approach does not significantly worsen graft-versus-host responses suggesting it may be viable in the clinic. Further, enhancing the available immune repertoire with female-derived T cells may provide an excellent pool of prostate cancer reactive T cells for further augmentation by combination with either vaccination or immune regulatory blockade strategies.