Relationship of p53 overexpression on cancers and recognition by anti-p53 T cell receptor-transduced T cells

Marc R. Theoret, Cyrille J. Cohen, Azam V. Nahvi, Lien T. Ngo, Kimberly B. Suri, Daniel J. Powell, Mark E. Dudley, Richard A. Morgan, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Tumor suppressor p53 is reported to be an attractive immunotherapy target because it is mutated in approximately half of human cancers, resulting in inactivation and often an accumulation of the protein in the tumor cells. Only low amounts of protein are detectable in normal tissues. The differential display of antigen in normal versus tumor tissues has been reported to create an opportunity to target p53 by immunotherapy. We sought to determine the relationship between p53 expression and its recognition by cognate T cells in human tumors including common epithelial malignancies. Inasmuch as nonsense or missense p53 mutations may disrupt processing and presentation, we studied tumors with either identified wild-type or mutated p53, based on our gene-sequencing studies or published data. T cells transduced with a high-affinity, p53264-272-reactive T cell receptor (TCR) derived from HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice recognized a wide panel of human tumor lines. There was no significant correlation between p53 expression in tumors and recognition by the anti-p53 TCR-transduced T cells. This conclusion was based on the study of 48 cell lines and is in contrast to several prior studies that used only a limited number of selected cell lines. A panel of normal cells was evaluated for recognition, and some of these populations were capable of stimulating anti-p53 T cells, albeit at low levels. These studies raise doubts concerning the suitability of targeting p53 in the immunotherapy of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1219-1231
Number of pages13
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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