Flagellin is a strong vaginal adjuvant of a therapeutic vaccine for genital cancer

Shee Eun Lee, Seol Hee Hong, Vivek Verma, Youn Suhk Lee, Tra My Nu Duong, Kwangjoon Jeong, Saji Uthaman, Young Chul Sung, Jae Tae Lee, In Kyu Park, Jung Joon Min, Joon Haeng Rhee

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cervical cancer is a high-incidence female cancer most commonly caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection of the genital mucosa. Immunotherapy targeting HPV-derived tumor antigens (TAs) has been widely studied in animal models and in patients. Because the female genital tract is a portal for the entry of HPV and a highly compartmentalized system, the development of topical vaginal immunotherapy in an orthotopic cancer model would provide an ideal therapeutic. Thus, we examined whether flagellin, a potent mucosal immunomodulator, could be used as an adjuvant for a topical therapeutic vaccine for female genital cancer. Intravaginal (IVAG) co-administration of the E6/E7 peptides with flagellin resulted in tumor suppression and long-term survival of tumor-bearing mice. In contrast to IVAG vaccination, intranasal (IN) or subcutaneous (SC) immunization did not induce significant tumor suppression in the same model. The vaginal adjuvant effect of the flagellin was completely abolished in Toll-like receptor-5 (TLR5) knock-out mice. IVAG immunization with the E6/E7 peptides plus flagellin induced the accumulation of CD4+ and CD8+ cells and the expression of T cell activation-related genes in the draining genital lymph nodes (gLNs). The co-administered flagellin elicited antigen-specific IFNγ production in the gLNs and spleen. The intravaginally administered flagellin was found in association with CD11c+ cells in the gLNs. Moreover, after immunization with a flagellin and the E6/E7 peptides, the TLR5 expression in gLN cells was significantly upregulated. These results suggest that flagellin serves as a potent vaginal adjuvant for a therapeutic peptide cancer vaccine through the activation of TLR5 signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOncoImmunology
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by an NRF grant from the MSIP [NRF-2013R1A2A2A01005011], Republic of Korea and a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the KHIDI, funded by the MHW, Republic of Korea [HI14C0187].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Shee Eun Lee, Seol Hee Hong, Vivek Verma, Youn Suhk Lee, Tra-My Nu Duong, Kwangjoon Jeong, Saji Uthaman, Young Chul Sung, Jae-Tae Lee, In-Kyu Park, Jung-Joon Min, and Joon Haeng Rhee.

Keywords

  • Flagellin
  • human papilloma virus
  • peptide
  • therapeutic vaccine
  • vaginal adjuvant

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