Immunity to the HER-2/neu Oncogenic Protein

  1. Derek J. Chadwick Organizer and
  2. Joan Marsh
  1. Mary L. Disis1,
  2. Helga Bernhard1,
  3. Julie R. Gralow1,
  4. Susan L. Hand1,
  5. Sandra R. Emery1,
  6. Emanuel Calenoff2 and
  7. Martin A. Cheever1

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514672.ch13

Ciba Foundation Symposium 187 - Vaccines Against Virally Induced Cancers

Ciba Foundation Symposium 187 - Vaccines Against Virally Induced Cancers

How to Cite

Disis, M. L., Bernhard, H., Gralow, J. R., Hand, S. L., Emery, S. R., Calenoff, E. and Cheever, M. A. (2007) Immunity to the HER-2/neu Oncogenic Protein, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 187 - Vaccines Against Virally Induced Cancers (eds D. J. Chadwick and J. Marsh), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514672.ch13

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, RM–17, BBl321 Health Sciences Building, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471950264

Online ISBN: 9780470514672



  • immunity;
  • HER-2/NEU oncogenic protein;
  • T lymphocyte epitopes;
  • potential epitopes;
  • immunotherapy


The study of oncogenic viruses led to the discovery that transforming retroviruses contain oncogenes homologous with and/or derived from cellular proto-oncogenes. In humans malignant transformation is often the result of the activation of proto-oncogenes. Normal proto-oncogenes can be activated to transforming proto-oncogenes by a variety of mechanisms including point mutation, translocation and amplification. Development of successful strategies for the immunotherapy of human cancers is an area of intense investigation. Part of the problem in developing cancer-specific immunotherapy has been the lack of well-defined tumour antigens. Our laboratory has focused on the question of whether oncogenic proteins expressed by transforming proto-oncogenes can serve as targets for immune attack. Some patients with HER-2/Neu-positive breast cancer have an existent immune response to the HER-2/neu protein with no clinical signs of autoimmunity, supporting the idea that overexpressed oncogenic proteins can be targeted in therapy without fear of destructive autoimmunity. The identification of candidate cytotoxic T lymphocyte epitopes might allow the generation of tumoury-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes for use in therapy and identify potential epitopes for peptide vaccines.