Genes of the synovial sarcoma X breakpoint (SSX) family are expressed in different human tumors, including melanomas, but not in adult somatic tissues. Because of their specific expression at the tumor site, SSX-encoded Ags are potential targets for anticancer immunotherapy. In this study, we have analyzed CD4+ T cell responses directed against the Ag encoded by SSX-4. Upon in vitro stimulation of PBMC from four melanoma patients bearing Ag-expressing tumors with a pool of long peptides spanning the protein sequence, we detected and isolated SSX-4-specific CD4+ T cells recognizing several distinct antigenic sequences, mostly restricted by frequently expressed HLA class II alleles. The majority of the identified sequences were located within the Krüppel-associated box domain in the N-terminal region of the protein, indicating a high potential immunogenicity of this region. Together our data document the existence of CD4+ T cells specific for multiple SSX-4 derived sequences in circulating lymphocytes from melanoma patients and encourage further studies to assess the impact of SSX-4-specific T cell responses on disease evolution in cancer patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy