Cervical cancer is a major public health problem and one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer, as well as a growing share of anal and head/neck tumors, are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Despite the effectiveness, the available prophylactic vaccines do not benefit women with cervical lesions or cancer. Therefore, the search of new immunotherapeutic approaches to treat HPV-induced tumors is still a priority. The present study characterizes a therapeutic antitumor vaccine based on the genetic fusion of the Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein D (gD) with the E7 oncoprotein from HPV-16 (gDE7). Two subcutaneous doses of gDE7, admixed with poly (I:C), conferred complete and long lasting therapeutic antitumor protection to mice previously challenged with tumor cells expressing the HPV-16 oncoproteins. The vaccine induced multifunctional E7-specific CD8+ T cells with cytotoxic activity and effector memory phenotype (CD44+ CD62Llow). Additionally, gDE7 admixed with poly (I:C) vaccination controlled the expansion of tumor-induced regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). More importantly, gDE7 activated mouse CD11c+ CD8α+ and human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs), specialized in antigen cross-presentation to CD8+ T cells, under in vitro conditions. These results indicated that the activation of a specific DC population, mediated by gD, improved the antigen-specific immune responses and the therapeutic performance induced by antitumor vaccines. These results open perspectives for the clinical testing of gDE7-based vaccines under the concept of active immunization as a tool for the therapeutic control of cancer.
- Received January 22, 2017.
- Revision received April 5, 2017.
- Accepted May 9, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.