Mammaglobin-A (MGBA), a 10-kD protein, is over expressed in 80% of primary and metastatic human breast cancers. Breast cancer patients demonstrate high frequencies of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) specific to MGBA. Defining CD8+ CTL responses to HLA class I-restricted MGBA-derived epitopes assumes significance in the context of our ongoing efforts to clinically translate vaccine strategies targeting MGBA for prevention and/or treatment of human breast cancers. In this study, we define the CD8+ CTL response to MGBA-derived candidate epitopes presented in the context of HLA-B7, which has a frequency of 17.7% in Caucasian and 15.5% in African American populations. We identified seven MGBA-derived candidate epitopes with high predicted binding scores for HLA-B7 using a computer algorithm. Membrane stabilization studies with TAP-deficient T2 cells transfected with HLA-B7 indicated that MGBA B7.3 (VSKTEYKEL), B7.6 (KLLMVLMLA), B7.7 (NPQVSKTEY), and B7.1 (YAGSGCPLL) have the highest HLA-B7 binding affinities. Further, two CD8+ CTL cell lines generated in vitro against T2.B7 cells individually loaded with MGBA-derived candidate epitopes showed significant cytotoxic activity against MGBA B7.1, B7.3, B7.6, and B7.7. In addition, the same CD8+ CTL lines lysed the HLA-B7+/MGBA+ human breast cancer cell line DU-4475 but had no significant cytotoxicity against HLA-B7- or MGBA- breast cancer cell lines. Cold-target inhibition studies strongly suggest that MGBA B7.3 is an immunodominant epitope. In summary, our results define HLA-B7-restriced, MGBA-derived, CD8+ CTL epitopes with all of the necessary features for developing novel vaccine strategies against HLA-B7 expressing breast cancer patients.
- CD8 T cell