Host-induced antibodies and their contributions to cancer inflammation are largely unexplored. IgG4 subclass antibodies are present in IL-10–driven Th2 immune responses in some inflammatory conditions. Since Th2-biased inflammation is a hallmark of tumor microenvironments, we investigated the presence and functional implications of IgG4 in malignant melanoma. Consistent with Th2 inflammation, CD22+ B cells and IgG4+-infiltrating cells accumulated in tumors, and IL-10, IL-4, and tumor-reactive IgG4 were expressed in situ. When compared with B cells from patient lymph nodes and blood, tumor-associated B cells were polarized to produce IgG4. Secreted B cells increased VEGF and IgG4, and tumor cells enhanced IL-10 secretion in cocultures. Unlike IgG1, an engineered tumor antigen-specific IgG4 was ineffective in triggering effector cell–mediated tumor killing in vitro. Antigen-specific and nonspecific IgG4 inhibited IgG1-mediated tumoricidal functions. IgG4 blockade was mediated through reduction of FcγRI activation. Additionally, IgG4 significantly impaired the potency of tumoricidal IgG1 in a human melanoma xenograft mouse model. Furthermore, serum IgG4 was inversely correlated with patient survival. These findings suggest that IgG4 promoted by tumor-induced Th2-biased inflammation may restrict effector cell functions against tumors, providing a previously unexplored aspect of tumor-induced immune escape and a basis for biomarker development and patient-specific therapeutic approaches.


Panagiotis Karagiannis, Amy E. Gilbert, Debra H. Josephs, Niwa Ali, Tihomir Dodev, Louise Saul, Isabel Correa, Luke Roberts, Emma Beddowes, Alexander Koers, Carl Hobbs, Silvia Ferreira, Jenny L.C. Geh, Ciaran Healy, Mark Harries, Katharine M. Acland, Philip J. Blower, Tracey Mitchell, David J. Fear, James F. Spicer, Katie E. Lacy, Frank O. Nestle, Sophia N. Karagiannis


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