PURPOSE: To redirect an ongoing antiviral T-cell response against tumor cells in vivo, we evaluated conjugates consisting of antitumor antibody fragments coupled to class I MHC molecules loaded with immunodominant viral peptides. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: First, lymphochoriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-infected C57BL/6 mice were s.c. grafted on the right flank with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)-transfected MC38 colon carcinoma cells precoated with anti-CEA x H-2D(b)/GP33 LCMV peptide conjugate and on the left flank with the same cells precoated with control anti-CEA F(ab')(2) fragments. Second, influenza virus-infected mice were injected i.v., to induce lung metastases, with HER2-transfected B16F10 cells, coated with either anti-HER2 x H-2D(b)/NP366 influenza peptide conjugates, or anti-HER2 F(ab')(2) fragments alone, or intact anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody. Third, systemic injections of anti-CEA x H-2D(b) conjugates with covalently cross-linked GP33 peptides were tested for the growth inhibition of MC38-CEA(+) cells, s.c. grafted in LCMV-infected mice. RESULTS: In the LCMV-infected mice, five of the six grafts with conjugate-precoated MC38-CEA(+) cells did not develop into tumors, whereas all grafts with F(ab')(2)-precoated MC38-CEA(+) cells did so (P = 0.0022). In influenza virus-infected mice, the group injected with cells precoated with specific conjugate had seven times less lung metastases than control groups (P = 0.0022 and P = 0.013). Most importantly, systemic injection in LCMV-infected mice of anti-CEA x H-2D(b)/cross-linked GP33 conjugates completely abolished tumor growth in four of five mice, whereas the same tumor grew in all five control mice (P = 0.016). CONCLUSION: The results show that a physiologic T-cell antiviral response in immunocompetent mice can be redirected against tumor cells by the use of antitumor antibody x MHC/viral peptide conjugates.
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