Purpose: For the development of peptide-based, cancer-specific immunotherapy, the identification of CTL epitopes from additional tumor antigens is very important. NY-ESO-1, a cancer-testis antigen, is considered to be a promising target of tumor-specific immunotherapy. Because HLA-A24-expressing individuals cover >60% in the population of Japan, we aim at identifying NY-ESO-1-encoded peptide presented by HLA-A24. Experimental Design: In our study, a HLA-A24-restricted CTL epitope was identified by using the following four-step procedure: (a) computer-based epitope prediction from the amino acid sequence of NY-ESO-1 antigen; (b) peptide-binding assay to determine the affinity of the predicted peptide with HLA-A24 molecule; (c) stimulation of primary T-cell response against the predicted peptides in vitro; and (d) testing of the induced CTLs toward various carcinoma cells expressing NY-ESO-1 antigen and HLA-A24. Results: Of the tested peptides, effectors induced by a peptide of NY-ESO-1 at residue position 158-166 lysed three kinds of carcinoma cells expressing both NY-ESO-1 and HLA-A24. Our results indicate that peptide NY-ESO-1 (158-166) (LLMWITQCF) is a new HLA-A24-restricted CTL epitope capable of inducing NY-ESO-1-specific CTLs in vitro mediating HLA class I-restricted manner. Conclusions: We identified a novel HLA-A24-restricted NY-ESO-1-derived epitope peptide (LLMWITQCF) that could induce specific CTLs from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HLA-A24+ healthy donors. This peptide would be useful in further evaluating the clinical utility of peptide-based, cancer-specific immunotherapy against various histological tumors.
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