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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Induction of protective and therapeutic anti-pancreatic cancer immunity using a reconstructed MUC1 DNA vaccine

Yefei Rong, Dayong Jin, Wenchuan Wu, Wenhui Lou, Danshong Wang, Tiantao Kuang, Xiaoling Ni and Xinyu Qin*

Author Affiliations

Department of General surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:191  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-191

Published: 18 June 2009

Abstract

Background

Pancreatic cancer is a common, highly lethal disease with a rising incidence. MUC1 is a tumor-associated antigen that is over-expressed in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Active immunotherapy that targets MUC1 could have great treatment value. Here we investigated the preventive and therapeutic effect of a MUC1 DNA vaccine on the pancreatic cancer.

Methods

MUC1-various tandem repeat units(VNTR) DNA vaccine was produced by cloning one repeat of VNTR and inserting the cloned gene into the pcDNA3.1. In the preventive group, female C57BL/6 mice were immunized with the vaccine, pcDNA3.1 or PBS; and challenged with panc02-MUC1 or panc02 cell. In the therapeutic group the mice were challenged with panc02-MUC1 or panc02 cell, and then immunized with the vaccine, pcDNA3.1 or PBS. The tumor size and the survival time of the animals were compared between these groups.

Results

The DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1-VNTR could raise cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity specific for MUC1. In the preventive experiment, the mice survival time was significantly longer in the vaccine group than in the control groups (P < 0.05). In the therapeutic experiment, the DNA vaccine prolonged the survival time of the panc02-MUC1-bearing mice (P < 0.05). In both the preventive and therapeutic experiments, the tumor size was significantly less in the vaccine group than in the control groups (P < 0.05). This pcDNA3.1-VNTR vaccine, however, could not prevent the mice attacked by panc02 cells and had no therapeutic effect on the mice attacked by panc02 cells.

Conclusion

The MUC1 DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1-VNTR could induce a significant MUC1-specific CTL response; and had both prophylactic and therapeutic effect on panc02-MUC1 tumors. This vaccine might be used as a new adjuvant strategy against pancreatic cancer.