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Int J Cancer. 2000 Jul 1;87(1):79-85.

Immunization of ovarian cancer patients with a synthetic Lewis(y)-protein conjugate vaccine: a phase 1 trial.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Developmental Chemotherapy, Memorial Hospital, New York, New York, USA.


As the initial step in developing carbohydrate-based vaccines for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients in an adjuvant setting, 25 patients were immunized with a Lewis(y) pentasaccharide (Le(y))-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)-conjugate vaccine together with the immunological adjuvant QS-21. Four different doses of the vaccine, containing 3, 10, 30, and 60 microg of carbohydrate were administered s.c. at 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, and 19 weeks to groups of 6 patients. Sera taken from the patients at regular intervals were assayed by ELISA for reactivity with naturally occurring forms of Le(y) (Le(y)-ceramide and Le(y) mucin) and by flow cytometry and a complement-dependent cytoxicity assay for reactivity with Le(y)-expressing tumor cells. The majority of the patients (16/24) produced anti-Le(y) antibodies as assessed by ELISA, and a proportion of these had strong anti-tumor cell reactivity as assessed by flow cytometry and complement-dependent cytotoxicity. One serum, analyzed in detail, was shown to react with glycolipids but not with glycoproteins or mucins expressed by ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR-3. The vaccine was well tolerated and no gastrointestinal, hematologic, renal, or hepatic toxicity related to the vaccine was observed. On the basis of this study, Le(y)-KLH should be a suitable component for a polyvalent vaccine under consideration for the therapy of epithelial cancers.

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