We have studied the components of a complex of tumor-specific antigens to determine if all of the components of the complex were lost during progression from a rather benign regressor tumor to a highly malignant (HM) cancer. We find that the HM tumor cells have lost antigens recognized by CTL but retained antigens recognized by Th cells. Immunization with variants expressing Th-defined antigens induced tumor-specific immunity to challenge with a parental variant that expressed a CTL-recognized target antigen, but did not induce immunity to challenge with the variant that expressed the Th-defined antigen alone. Together, these findings suggested that Th cells fail to exert direct selective pressure upon the tumor, resulting in retention of "lineage-specific," Th-recognized antigens by highly immunoselected variants. Possible advantage could be taken of this fact for the development of specific immunotherapy.

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