Imatinib mesylate (STI-571) enhances antigen-presenting cell function and overcomes tumor-induced CD4+ T-cell tolerance

Hongwei Wang, Fengdong Cheng, Alex Cuenca, Pedro Horna, Zheng Zheng, Kapil Bhalla, Eduardo M. Sotomayor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Tumor antigen-specific T-cell tolerance imposes a significant barrier to the development of effective therapeutic cancer vaccines. Bone marrow-derived antigen-presenting cells (APCs) are critical in the induction of this unresponsive state. Here we show that in vitro treatment of APCs with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib mesylate (STI-571), enhances the activation of naive antigen-specific T cells and restores the responsiveness of tolerant T cells from tumor-bearing hosts. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with STI-571 not only prevented the induction of tolerance in tumor-specific CD4+ T cells, preserving their responsiveness to a subsequent immunization, but also resulted in enhanced vaccine efficacy. These findings demonstrate that tolerance to tumor antigens is not an insurmountable obstacle and points to modulation of APC function as a promising strategy in the immunotherapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1143
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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