The HER2/neu-derived peptide p654-662 is a tumor-associated antigen in human pancreatic cancer recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Matthias Peiper, Peter S. Goedegebuure, David C. Linehan, Eric Ganguly, Cara C. Douville, Timothy J. Eberlein

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86 Scopus citations


The protooncogene HER2/neu encodes a 185-kDa transmembrane protein with extensive homology to the epidermal growth factor receptor. It is overexpressed in several human cancers of epithelial origin, such as pancreatic cancer. Previously, we demonstrated that cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) derived from breast, ovarian, and non-small cell lung cancer recognized a peptide derived from HER2/neu. To evaluate whether this HLA-A2-binding peptide is a tumor-associated antigen (TAA) in pancreatic cancer, the ability of HER2/neu-reactive CTL to lyse human pancreatic carcinoma cells was tested. CTL were generated from tumor-associated T lymphocytes from HLA-A2+HER2/neu+ breast and ovarian cancer patients. All CTL recognized autologous and allogeneic HER2/nue+ tumor cells in an HLA-A2-restricted fashion. Furthermore, all CTL recognized p654-662 (GP2) derived from HER2/neu. These CTL also recognized HER2/neu+ pancreatic cancer cells in an HLA-A2-restricted fashion. HER2/neu+HLA-A2- pancreatic cancer cells were not or only poorly lysed. Repeated stimulation of HLA-A2+ PBL from pancreatic cancer patients using the HER2/neu-derived peptide resulted in specific recognition of this peptide and, more importantly, HER2/neu+ pancreatic tumors in an HLA-A2-restricted fashion. Autologous HLA-A2+ fibroblasts or HLA-A2+ malignant melanoma cells were not recognized. HLA-A2- peptide-stimulated T lymphocytes showed no significant cytotoxicity. These results demonstrate that this HER2/neu-derived peptide is a shared TAA among several adenocarcinomas including pancreatic carcinoma, suggesting a common mechanism of recognition of these human tumors by T lymphocytes. The identification of the HER2/neu-derived peptide GP2 as a TAA in pancreatic cancer provides an opportunity for the design of novel immunotherapy and vaccine strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1123
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Cytotoxic lymphocyte
  • HER2/neu
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Peptide stimulation


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