Humoral and cellular responses raised against the human HER2 oncoprotein are cross-reactive with the homologous product of the new proto-oncogene, but do not protect rats against B104 tumors expressing mutated neu.
Taylor P., Gerder M., Moros Z., Feldmann M.
The neu proto-oncogene encodes a plasma membrane protein belonging to the epidermal growth factor receptor family. The cell line B104, derived from BDIX rat neuroblastoma, carries a point mutation in neu, and forms a tumor when injected into these rats. The human homologue of the neu oncogene (here called HER2) is overexpressed in certain types of cancer. Rats were immunized with HER2 protein (HER2) to investigate a possible cross-reaction between the homologous proteins which could protect them against subsequent inoculation with B104. Specific antibody in the serum was measured by cell-based enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay and fluorescence immunocytochemistry, and delayed-type hypersensitivity by an ear assay. Sera from animals immunized with the HER2 extracellular domain (HER2-ECD) reacted with both HER2- and neu-expressing cells. In the ear assay, a significant cellular response to both HER-ECD (P < 0.05) and neu protein (P < 0.001) was observed in HER2-ECD-immunized rats. However, the growth of B104 tumors in rats was not affected by preimmunization with HER2-ECD. The results indicate that an autoreactive immune response to neu was induced by immunization with HER2-ECD, but was too weak to affect the growth of the neu-bearing tumor.