Human melanoma antigens and their epitopes recognized by T cells have recently been identified. HLA-A2 binding epitopes of melanoma antigens MART-1 and gp100 were characterized and suspected to be subdominant/cryptic self determinants. Together with other findings of tumor-specific mutated self peptides as tumor antigens recognized by T cells, the nature of the antitumor immune response to human melanoma has been revealed at a molecular level. These findings have implications not only for understanding of the immune response to self peptides in normal and pathologic conditions, but also for the development of immunotherapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases.
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