Combined therapy of an established, highly aggressive breast cancer in mice with paclitaxel and a unique DNA-based cell vaccine


  • The use of animals in these studies as reviewed and approved by the Animal Care Committee of the University of Illinois (Approval number 04-067, expires 7/07).


Here, we describe the enhanced benefits of treating a highly aggressive breast cancer in mice with a combination of paclitaxel and immunization with a unique DNA-based cell vaccine. An adenocarcinoma was isolated from a spontaneous neoplasm that arose in the mammary gland of a C3H/He mouse (H-2k) (SB5b cells). The vaccine was prepared by transfer of genomic DNA-fragments (25 kb) from the breast cancer cells into a mouse fibroblast cell line (LM), modified to enhance its immunogenic properties. As the transferred DNA is integrated, and replicated as the recipient cells divide, the vaccine could be prepared from relatively small numbers of cancer cells (107 = 4 mm tumor). SB5b cells were injected into the mammary fat pad of naïve C3H/He mice, which are highly susceptible to the growth of the cancer cells. When the tumors reached ˜3 mm, the mice were injected s.c. with a noncurative dose of paclitaxel. Six days later, when immune competence returned, the mice received the first of 3 weekly s.c. injections of the vaccine. The combined therapy induced robust cellular immunity to the breast cancer, mediated by CD8+ and NK/LAK cells, which resulted in prolonged survival. The immunity was specific, as immunization with a vaccine prepared by transfer of DNA from B16 melanoma cells into the fibroblasts failed to induce immunity to the breast cancer. This type of vaccine raises the possibility that an analogous strategy could be used in the treatment of breast cancer patients at an early stage of the disease. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.