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J Clin Oncol. 2000 Dec 1;18(23):3894-903.

Immunotherapy of hormone-refractory prostate cancer with antigen-loaded dendritic cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Urology, University of California San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.



Provenge (Dendreon Corp, Seattle, WA) is an immunotherapy product consisting of autologous dendritic cells loaded ex vivo with a recombinant fusion protein consisting of prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) linked to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Sequential phase I and phase II trials were performed to determine the safety and efficacy of Provenge and to assess its capacity to break immune tolerance to the normal tissue antigen PAP.


All patients had hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Dendritic-cell precursors were harvested by leukapheresis in weeks 0, 4, 8, and 24, loaded ex vivo with antigen for 2 days, and then infused intravenously over 30 minutes. Phase I patients received increasing doses of Provenge, and phase II patients received all the Provenge that could be prepared from a leukapheresis product.


Patients tolerated treatment well. Fever, the most common adverse event, occurred after 15 infusions (14.7%). All patients developed immune responses to the recombinant fusion protein used to prepare Provenge, and 38% developed immune responses to PAP. Three patients had a more than 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, and another three patients had 25% to 49% decreases in PSA. The time to disease progression correlated with development of an immune response to PAP and with the dose of dendritic cells received.


Provenge is a novel immunotherapy agent that is safe and breaks tolerance to the tissue antigen PAP. Preliminary evidence for clinical efficacy warrants further exploration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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