BACKGROUND: Atopics have a lower risk for malignancies, and IgE targeted to tumors is superior to IgG in fighting cancer. Whether IgE-mediated innate or adaptive immune surveillance can confer protection against tumors remains unclear.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate the effects of active and passive immunotherapy to the tumor-associated antigen HER-2 in three murine models differing in Epsilon-B-cell-receptor expression affecting the levels of expressed IgE.
METHODS: We compared the levels of several serum specific anti-HER-2 antibodies (IgE, IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, IgA) and the survival rates in low-IgE ΔM1M2 mice lacking the transmembrane/cytoplasmic domain of Epsilon-B-cell-receptors expressing reduced IgE levels, high-IgE KN1 mice expressing chimeric Epsilon-Gamma1-B-cell receptors with 4-6-fold elevated serum IgE levels, and wild type (WT) BALB/c. Prior engrafting mice with D2F2/E2 mammary tumors overexpressing HER-2, mice were vaccinated with HER-2 or vehicle control PBS using the Th2-adjuvant Al(OH)3 (active immunotherapy), or treated with the murine anti-HER-2 IgG1 antibody 4D5 (passive immunotherapy).
RESULTS: Overall, among the three strains of mice, HER-2 vaccination induced significantly higher levels of HER-2 specific IgE and IgG1 in high-IgE KN1, while low-IgE ΔM1M2 mice had higher IgG2a levels. HER-2 vaccination and passive immunotherapy prolonged the survival in tumor-grafted WT and low-IgE ΔM1M2 strains compared with treatment controls; active vaccination provided the highest benefit. Notably, untreated high-IgE KN1 mice displayed the longest survival of all strains, which could not be further extended by active or passive immunotherapy.
CONCLUSION: Active and passive immunotherapies prolong survival in wild type and low-IgE ΔM1M2 mice engrafted with mammary tumors. High-IgE KN1 mice have an innate survival benefit following tumor challenge.