Background: In patients with high grade glioma, little is known regarding existence of naturally occurring adaptive T cell reactivity against glioma-associated antigens (GAAs). In this report, we characterized GAA-specific CD8+ T cells and innate immune cells in a patient who has survived with anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) for over 12 years without recurrence. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) derived from the long term survivor with AA were evaluated for the frequency, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity and differentiation status of CD8+ cells recognizing GAA-derived epitopes as well as relative numbers of other immune cell subsets. This patient's AA tissue was evaluated for expression of two GAAs EphA2 and interleukin-13 receptor α2 subunit (IL-13Rα2) by immunohistochemistry. Results: The patient's tumor expressed both EphA2 and IL-13Rα2, and in vitro stimulated PBMC demonstrated superior EphA2883-891 and IL-13Rα2345-353-specific CTL reactivity compared to PBMC samples from two other patients with progressing malignant glioma. Unstimulated EphA2883-891- reactive CD8+ T cells contained high numbers ofCD45RA-/ CCR7- late effector and CD45RA-/CCR7+ central memory cells. Among other leukocyte subsets, elevated numbers of NK-T cells were found. Conclusion: To our knowledge, the current study is one of the first demonstrating the presence of antigen-experienced, GAA-reactive CD8+ T cells in a patient who has survived with AA for over 12 years without recurrence. Further studies are warranted to determine whether the status of GAA-reactive CD8+ T cells dictates survival of patients and/or response to therapeutic vaccines.
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