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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Aug 1;16(15):4046-56. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0948. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

A viral vaccine encoding prostate-specific antigen induces antigen spreading to a common set of self-proteins in prostate cancer patients.

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  • 1Trev & Joyce Deeley Research Centre, BC Cancer Agency-Vancouver Island Centre, 2410 Lee Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



We previously reported a randomized phase II clinical trial combining a poxvirus-based vaccine encoding prostate-specific antigen (PSA) with radiotherapy in patients with localized prostate cancer. Here, we investigate whether vaccination against PSA induced immune responses to additional tumor-associated antigens and how this influenced clinical outcome.


Pretreatment and posttreatment serum samples from patients treated with vaccine + external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) versus EBRT alone were evaluated by Western blot and serologic screening of a prostate cancer cDNA expression library (SEREX) to assess the development of treatment-associated autoantibody responses.


Western blotting revealed treatment-associated autoantibody responses in 15 of 33 (45.5%) patients treated with vaccine + EBRT versus 1 of 8 (12.5%) treated with EBRT alone. SEREX screening identified 18 antigens, which were assembled on an antigen array with 16 previously identified antigens. Antigen array screening revealed that 7 of 33 patients (21.2%) treated with vaccine + EBRT showed a vaccine-associated autoantibody response to four ubiquitously expressed self-antigens: DIRC2, NDUFS1, MRFAP1, and MATN2. These responses were not seen in patients treated with EBRT alone, or other control groups. Patients with autoantibody responses to this panel of antigens had a trend toward decreased biochemical-free survival.


Vaccine + EBRT induced antigen spreading in a large proportion of patients. A subset of patients developed autoantibodies to a panel of four self-antigens and showed a trend toward inferior outcomes. Thus, cancer vaccines directed against tumor-specific antigens can trigger autoantibody responses to self-proteins, which may influence the efficacy of vaccination.

(c) 2010 AACR.

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