The Human T Cell Response to Melanoma Antigens
The cornerstone of the concept of immunosurveillance in cancer should be the experimental demonstration of immune responses able to alter the course of in vivo spontaneous tumor progression. Elegant genetic manipulation of the mouse immune system has proved this tenet. In parallel, progress in understanding human T cell mediated immunity has allowed to document the existence in cancer patients of naturally acquired T cell responses to molecularly defined tumor antigens. Various attributes of cutaneous melanoma tumors, notably their adaptability to in vitro tissue culture conditions, have contributed to convert this tumor in the prototype for studies of human antitumor immune responses. As a consequence, the first human cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL)-defined tumor antigen and numerous others have been identified using lymphocyte material from patients bearing this tumor, detailed analyses of specific T cell responses have been reported and a relatively large number of clinical trials of vaccination have been performed in the last 15 years. Thus, the "melanoma model" continues to provide valuable insights to guide the development of clinically effective cancer therapies based on the recruitment of the immune system. This chapter reviews recent knowledge on human CD8 and CD4 T cell responses to melanoma antigens.
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