Innovative DNA vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer

A. Wu, Q. Zeng, T. H. Kang, S. Peng, E. Roosinovich, S. I. Pai, C. F. Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly type 16, has been associated with a subset of head and neck cancers. The viral-encoded oncogenic proteins E6 and E7 represent ideal targets for immunotherapy against HPV-associated head and neck cancers. DNA vaccines have emerged as attractive approaches for immunotherapy due to its simplicity, safety and ease of preparation. Intradermal administration of DNA vaccine by means of gene gun represents an efficient method to deliver DNA directly into dendritic cells for priming antigen-specific T cells. We have previously shown that a DNA vaccine encoding an invariant chain (Ii), in which the class II-associated Ii peptide (CLIP) region has been replaced by a Pan-DR-epitope (PADRE) sequence to form Ii-PADRE, is capable of generating PADRE-specific CD4 T cells in vaccinated mice. In the current study, we hypothesize that a DNA vaccine encoding Ii-PADRE linked to E6 (Ii-PADRE-E6) will further enhance E6-specific CD8 T cell immune responses through PADRE-specific CD4 T-helper cells. We found that mice vaccinated with Ii-PADRE-E6 DNA generated comparable levels of PADRE-specific CD4 T-cell immune responses, as well as significantly stronger E6-specific CD8 T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects against the lethal challenge of E6-expressing tumor compared with mice vaccinated with Ii-E6 DNA. Taken together, our data indicate that vaccination with Ii-E6 DNA with PADRE replacing the CLIP region is capable of enhancing the E6-specific CD8 T-cell immune response generated by the Ii-E6 DNA. Thus, Ii-PADRE-E6 represents a novel DNA vaccine for the treatment of HPV-associated head and neck cancer and other HPV-associated malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • DNA vaccine
  • E6
  • HPV
  • head and neck cancer
  • invariant chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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