Th9 cells are a subset of CD4+ Th cells that produce the pleiotropic cytokine IL-9. IL-9/Th9 can function as both positive and negative regulators of immune response, but the role of IL-9/Th9 in tumor immunity is unknown. We examined the role of IL-9/Th9 in a model of pulmonary melanoma in mice. Lack of IL-9 enhanced tumor growth, while tumor-specific Th9 cell treatment promoted stronger antitumor responses in both prophylactic and therapeutic models. Th9 cells also elicited strong host antitumor CD8 + CTL responses by promoting Ccl20/Ccr6-dependent recruitment of DCs to the tumor tissues. Subsequent tumor antigen delivery to the draining LN resulted in CD8+ T cell priming. In agreement with this model, Ccr6 deficiency abrogated the Th9 cell-mediated antitumor response. Our data suggest a distinct role for tumor-specific Th9 cells in provoking CD8+ CTL-mediated antitumor immunity and indicate that Th9 cell-based cancer immunotherapy may be a promising therapeutic approach.
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