Antigen-specific memory T cells (Tms) are essential in the immune surveillance of residual and metastatic tumors. Activation of Tms requires designing vaccines based on tumor rejection antigens, which are often not available to cancer patients. Therefore, it is desirable to have a general applicable approach to activate Tms without extensive knowledge of tumor antigens. Here, we report that activation of antigen-specific Tms could be achieved by the administration of agonistic anti-CD137 monoclonal antibody without additional tumor vaccination, leading to the prevention of recurrence and metastases after surgical resection of primary tumors in mouse models. By reconstitution with CD137-deficient Tms, we demonstrate that expression of CD137 on antigen-specific Tms is only partially required for the effect of anti-CD137 antibody. Other host cells, including those from hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic origins, are also important because ablation of CD137 from these cells partially but significantly eliminates antitumor effect of anti-CD137 antibody. Our findings implicate a potential new approach to prevent recurrence and metastases in cancer patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology