Interferon-γ differentially regulates susceptibility of lung cancer cells to telomerase-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Kouhei Tajima, Yoshinori Ito, Ayako Demachi, Keiko Nishida, Yoshiki Akatsuka, Kunio Tsujimura, Toyoaki Hida, Yasuo Morishima, Hiroyuki Kuwano, Tetsuya Mitsudomi, Toshitada Takahashi, Kiyotaka Kuzushima

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24 Citations (Scopus)


There is accumulating evidence that peptides derived from the catalytic subunit of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) are specifically recognized by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. We investigated the cytotoxicity of a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*2402-restricted hTERT-derived peptide 461-469 (hTERT461)-specific CD8+ T-cell clone, designated as K3-1, established from a healthy donor by repetitive peptide stimulation. This clone exhibited cytotoxicity against 4 out of 6 HLA-A24-positive lung cancer cell lines with positive telomerase activity but not 4 HLA-A24-negative examples. When the target cells were pretreated with 100 U/ml of interferon (IFN)-γ for 48 hr, the susceptibility to K3-1 increased with PC9 cells but unexpectedly decreased with LU99 cells. However, in both cell lines, the expression of molecules associated with epitope presentation such as HLA-A24, transporters associated with antigen processing, low molecular weight polypeptide 7 and proteasome activator 28 was similarly increased after IFN-γ treatment. Results of CTL assays using acid-extracted peptides indicated that the epitope increased on PC9 cells but not on LU99 cells after IFN-γ treatment. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction disclosed that the expression of hTERT was attenuated in LU99 but not in PC9 cells, accounting for the decreased cytotoxicity mediated by K3-1. The attenuation of the hTERT expression and K3-1-mediated cell lysis after IFN-γ treatment was also observed in primary adenocarcinoma cells obtained from pulmonary fluid of a lung cancer patient. Our data underline the utility of peptide hTERT461 in immunotherapy for lung cancer, as with other malignancies reported earlier, and suggest that modulation of hTERT expression by IFN-γ needs to be taken into account in therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20-06-2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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