Open Access Research

Six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate and enhancer of zeste homolog 2 as immunotherapeutic targets for lung cancer

Satoshi Hayashi12*, Takumi Kumai2, Yoshiya Matsuda12, Naoko Aoki2, Keisuke Sato2, Shoji Kimura2, Masahiro Kitada1, Masatoshi Tateno2, Esteban Celis3 and Hiroya Kobayashi2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Asahikawa Medical University, Asahikawa, Japan

2 Department of Pathology, Asahikawa Medical University Asahikawa, Japan

3 H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2011, 9:191  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-191

Published: 5 November 2011



T-cell based immunotherapy for lung cancer (LC) could be a promising and novel therapeutic approach. Six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate (STEAP) and the polycomb group protein enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) are highly expressed in LC and since the expression of molecules in normal tissue is significantly lower as compared to tumor cells, these proteins are considered as potential tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) for developing T-cell based immunotherapy.


We assessed the capacity of predicted CD4 T-cell epitopes from STEAP and EZH2 to induce anti-tumor immune responses to LC cell lines.


Out of several predicted epitopes, two synthetic peptides, STEAP281-296 and EZH295-109, were effective in inducing CD4 T-cell responses that were restricted by HLA-DR1, DR15, or DR53 molecules, indicating that the peptides function as promiscuous T-cell epitopes. Moreover, STEAP281-296 and EZH295-109-reactive T-cells could directly recognize STEAP or EZH2 expressing LC cells in an HLA-DR restricted manner. In addition, some STEAP-reactive T-cells responded to STEAP+ tumor cell lysates presented by autologous dendric cells. Most significantly, both of these peptides were capable of stimulating in vitro T-cell responses in patients with LC.


Peptides STEAP281-296 and EZH295-109 function as strong CD4 T-cell epitopes that can elicit effective anti-tumor T-cell responses against STEAP or EZH2 expressing LC. These observations may facilitate the translation of T-cell based immunotherapy into the clinic for the treatment of LC.