Metastatic melanoma patients treated with an autologous DNP-modified tumor cell vaccine develop inflammatory responses in metastatic tumors characterized by infiltration of CD8+ T cells. To further define this immune response, we analyzed T cell receptor beta-chain variable (TCRBV) region repertoire in biopsy specimens and peripheral blood lymphocytes of six patients. After administration of DNP vaccine, a restricted set of TCRBV gene families was found to be expanded compared with prevaccine metastases. In several postvaccine lesions of one patient, obtained over a 2-yr period, TCRBV14+ T cells were clonally expanded and identical T cell clonotypes could be detected. Two major recurring clones were biased toward the use of TCRBJ1S5. Furthermore, T cell lines derived from two such infiltrated skin lesions and, enriched in TCRBV14+ T cells, displayed HLA-class I-restricted lysis of the autologous melanoma cells. Clonal expansion of T cells was demonstrated in the T cell-infiltrated, postvaccine metastasis of a second patient as well. These results indicate that vaccination with autologous, DNP-modified melanoma cells can expand selected clones of T cells at the tumor site and that such clones are potentially destructive to the tumor.
M Sensi, C Farina, C Maccalli, R Lupetti, G Nicolini, A Anichini, G Parmiani, D Berd