The aim of this study was to clarify candidate peptides for peptide-based specific immunotherapy of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Thirteen peptides were examined for in vitro induction of peptide-specific CD8 + T lymphocyte (CD8 +TL) activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 35 patients with oral SCC. A correlation between the induction ability of CD8 +TL and in vivo immune response of host was carried out immunohistochemically in 23 patients. Peptide-specific activities of CD8 +TL for at least one peptide were detectable in 21/35 patients (60.0%). The potent peptides were SART-1 690 in 9/35 (25.7%), SART-2 93, and ART4 75 in 7/35 (20.0%), respectively. In the 9 patients with SART-1 690-specific activity, the whole of activities was significantly inducible for more number of other peptides compared to that in 26 patients without the activity (P=0.035). Cellular responses in 7 patients with SART-1 690-specific activity were significantly stronger than those in 16 patients without the activity (P=0.027). Furthermore, the number of CD3 + T cells around the SCC was also significantly different between the 2 groups of patients (P=0.041). In conclusion, SART-1 690, SART-2 93, and ART4 75 could be applicable as peptide-based specific immunotherapies for the majority of patients with oral SCC.
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