ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy with therapeutic idiotype vaccines offers promise for treatment of B-cell malignancies. However, identification of novel immunogenic lymphoma-associated antigens that are universally expressed is necessary to overcome the barriers of patient-specific idiotype vaccines. Here, we determined whether T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1 (TCL1) oncoprotein encoded by the TCL1 gene could be a target for immunotherapy of B-cell malignancies. We show that TCL1 mRNA and protein are selectively expressed in normal B cells but markedly hyperexpressed in multiple human B-cell lymphomas, including follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma. We demonstrated that TCL1-specific CD8(+) T cells can be generated from HLA-A*0201 (HLA-A2)(+) normal donors and identified TCL1(71-78) (LLPIMWQL) as the minimal epitope recognized by these T cells. More importantly, TCL1(71-78) peptide-specific T cells were present in the peripheral blood and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes of lymphoma patients, could be expanded in vitro, and lysed autologous tumor cells but not normal B cells in an HLA-A2-restricted manner. Our results suggest that TCL1 is naturally processed and presented on the surface of lymphoma cells for recognition by cytotoxic T cells and can serve as a novel target for development of immunotherapeutic strategies against common B-cell lymphomas.
Blood 05/2012; 120(8):1613-23. · 9.90 Impact Factor