Control of spontaneous ovarian tumors by CD8+ T cells through NKG2D-targeted delivery of antigenic peptide

Tae H. Kang, Jayne Knoff, Benjamin Yang, Ya Chea Tsai, Liangmei He, Chien Fu Hung, T. C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: There is an urgent need to develop targeted therapies for the control of advanced stage ovarian cancer because it is the most deadly gynecologic cancer. Antigen-specific immunotherapy is a promising approach because of the potential of the immune system to specifically target tumors without the toxicity associated with traditional chemoradiation. However, one of the major limitations for antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy is the pre-existing immune tolerance against endogenous targeted tumor antigens that frequently evolves during carcinogenesis. Here, we described the creation of a therapeutic agent comprised of a tumor-homing module fused to a functional domain capable of selectively rendering tumor cells sensitive to foreign antigen-specific CD8+ T cell-mediated immune attack, thereby circumventing many aspects of immune tolerance. The tumor-homing module, NKG2D, specifically binds to NKG2D ligand that is commonly overexpressed in ovarian tumors. The functional domain is comprised of the Fc portion of IgG2a protein and foreign immunogenic CD8+ T cell epitope flanked by furin cleavage sites (R), which can be recognized and cleaved by furin that is highly expressed in the tumor microenvironment.Results: We show that this therapeutic chimeric protein specifically loaded antigenic epitope onto the surface of NKG2D ligand-expressing ovarian tumor cells, rendering ovarian tumors susceptible to antigen-specific CTL-mediated killing in vitro. Furthermore, we show that intraperitoneal administration of our therapeutic chimeric protein followed by adoptive transfer of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells generates potent antitumor effects and significant accumulation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in the tumor loci.Conclusions: Our findings have promise for bypassing immune tolerance to enhance cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number48
JournalCell and Bioscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 20 2013


  • Immunotherapy
  • NKG2D
  • Ovarian cancer
  • T cell adoptive transfer
  • TgMISIIR-TAg transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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