p53 epitopes as potential tumour targets for immunotherapy programmes against cancers
The tumour suppressor gene p53 is pivotal in the regulation of program cell death (apoptosis), and point mutations within the gene represent the most common genetic alterations in human cancers. This process can result in the overexpression and/or accumulation of mutated and/or wild-type p53 protein within the cell. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) play a critical role in the immune defense by recognising peptide/MHC complexes on the surface of virally infected or tumour cells followed by lysis. Therefore, p53-derived peptides are potential candidates for immunisation strategies designed to induce anti-tumour CTL in patients.