Peptide vaccines can be a successful and cost-effective way of generating T-cell responses against defined tumor antigens, especially when combined with immune adjuvants such as poly-IC. However, strong immune adjuvants can induce a collateral increase in numbers of irrelevant, nonspecific T cells, which limits the effectiveness of the peptide vaccines. Here, we report that providing prolonged IL2 signaling in the form of either IL2/ anti-IL2 complexes or pegylated IL2 overcomes the competitive suppressive effect of irrelevant T cells, allowing the preferential expansion of antigen-specific T cells. In addition to increasing the number of tumor-reactive T cells, sustained IL2 enhanced the ability of T cells to resist PD-1–induced negative signals, increasing the therapeutic effectiveness of the vaccines against established tumors. This vaccination strategy using peptides and sustained IL2 could be taken into the clinic for the treatment of cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine