Anti-idiotype (Id) vaccine therapy has been tested and shown to be effective, in several animal models, for triggering the immune system to induce specific and protective immunity against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. The administration of anti-Id antibodies as surrogate tumor-associated antigens (TAA) also represents another potential application of the concept of the Id network. Limited experience in human trials using anti-Id to stimulate immunity against tumors has shown promising results. In this "counter-point" article, we discuss our own findings showing the potential of anti-Id antibody vaccines to be novel therapeutic approaches to various human cancers and also discuss where anti-Id vaccines may perform better than traditional multiple-epitope antigen vaccines.
The linear antigenic epitopes of the Epstein-Barr virus replication activator protein (ZEBRA), recognised by specific serum IgG in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), were determined. This was achieved by synthesizing the entire amino acid sequence of ZEBRA as a set of 29, 22-residue peptides with an overlap of 14 amino acids. The ZEBRA peptides were tested in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IgG binding in sera from 37 selected NPC patients who had IgG antibodies to the native ZEBRA protein. The most immunogenic epitope was peptide 1 at the amino-terminal end with 36 of the sera reactive against it. Further analysis of peptide 1, using the multipin peptide-scanning technique, defined a 10-amino-acid sequence FTPDPYQVPF, which was strongly bound by IgG. Two other regions of ZEBRA were also identified as immunodominant IgG epitopes, namely peptide 11 (amino acids 82-103) and peptide 19/20 (amino acids 146-175) with 8-13 of the NPC sera reactive against the peptides. The number of peptides reactive with individual NPC serum varies from 1 to 6 or more and there is some correlation between a greater number of peptide (at least 4) bound and a higher (at least 1:40) titre of serum IgA to viral capsid antigen. The immunodominant ZEBRA peptide 1 could be utilised in IgG ELISA for the detection of NPC.
The BamHI Z EBV replication activator (ZEBRA) protein is involved in the switch from latency to productive cycle of Epstein-Barr virus. A recombinant ZEBRA protein was synthesized and assessed in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for serum IgG response in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients. In 100 NPC serum samples that were positive for IgA to the EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA), 75% had IgG anti-ZEBRA antibodies. In contrast, only 3/83 (3.6%) serum samples from healthy donors and 2/50 (4%) from other cancers were positive for IgG to ZEBRA. Interestingly, in a selected group of 100 NPC sera negative for IgA to VCA, 25% contained IgG anti-ZEBRA antibodies. This suggests that the ELISA for IgG anti-ZEBRA may also identify earlier cases of NPC not detected by the conventional immunofluorescence test for IgA to VCA.
Lymphovascular invasion (LVI), encompassing blood and lymphatic vessel invasion, is an important event in tumourigenesis. Macrophages within the tumour microenvironment are linked to the presence of LVI and angiogenesis. This study investigates the role of macrophage-derived, caspase-1-dependent interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) in an in vitro model of LVI. IL-1β significantly augmented the adhesion and transmigration of breast cancer cell lines MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 across endothelial cell barriers. MDA-MB-231 and MCF7 showed a higher percentage of adhesion to lymphatic endothelial cells than blood endothelial cells following endothelial cell IL-1β stimulation (P