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J Clin Oncol. 2004 Nov 15;22(22):4474-85.

Immunologic and clinical outcomes of vaccination with a multiepitope melanoma peptide vaccine plus low-dose interleukin-2 administered either concurrently or on a delayed schedule.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Human Immune Therapy Center, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.



A phase II trial was performed to test whether systemic low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) augments T-cell immune responses to a multipeptide melanoma vaccine. Forty patients with resected stage IIB-IV melanoma were randomly assigned to vaccination with four gp100- and tyrosinase-derived peptides restricted by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) -A1, HLA-A2, and HLA-A3, and a tetanus helper peptide plus IL-2 administered daily either beginning day 7 (group 1), or beginning day 28 (group 2).


T-cell responses were assessed by an interferon gamma ELIspot assay in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and in a lymph node draining a vaccination site (sentinel immunized node [SIN]). Patients were followed for disease-free and overall survival.


T-cell responses to the melanoma peptides were observed in 37% of PBL and 38% of SINs in group 1, and in 53% of PBL and 83% of SINs in group 2. The magnitude of T-cell response was higher in group 2. The tyrosinase peptides DAEKSDICTDEY and YMDGTMSQV were more immunogenic than the gp100 peptides YLEPGPVTA and ALLAVGATK. T-cell responses were detected in the SINs more frequently, and with higher magnitude, than responses in the PBL. Disease-free survival estimates at 2 years were 39% (95% CI, 18% to 61%) for group 1, and 50% (95% CI, 28% to 72%) for group 2 (P = .32).


The results of this study support the safety and immunogenicity of a vaccine composed of four peptides derived from gp100 and tyrosinase. The low-dose IL-2 regimen used for group 1 paradoxically diminishes the magnitude and frequency of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to these peptides.

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