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Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 15;69(2):609-15. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3529.

Potentiating endogenous antitumor immunity to prostate cancer through combination immunotherapy with CTLA4 blockade and GM-CSF.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


CTL-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4) is a costimulatory molecule expressed on activated T cells that delivers an inhibitory signal to these T cells. CTLA4 blockade with antibody treatment has been shown to augment antitumor immunity in animal models and is being developed as a treatment for cancer patients. As has been seen in preclinical models, combining CTLA4 blockade and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-based immunotherapies can enhance the antitumor efficacy of this approach. We therefore examined whether CTLA4 blockade could be combined with GM-CSF administration. We treated 24 patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer in a phase I trial where sequential cohorts were treated with increasing doses of ipilimumab, a fully human anti-CTLA4 antibody. Study subjects also received s.c. injections of GM-CSF at a fixed dose. Of the six patients treated at the highest dose level, three had confirmed PSA declines of >50%, including one patient that had a partial response in visceral metastases. Expansion of activated, circulating CD25(+) CD69(+) CD8(+) T cells occurred more frequently at higher doses of treatment and was greater in magnitude than was seen in patients who received the same doses of either ipilimumab or GM-CSF alone. By screening sera with protein arrays, we showed that our treatment can induce antibody responses to NY-ESO-1. These results show that this combination immunotherapy can induce the expansion not only of activated effector CD8 T cells in vivo but also of T cells that are specific for known tumor-associated antigens from the endogenous immune repertoire.

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