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J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Feb;210(2):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2009.10.022. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Clinical and immunologic responses of HLA-A3+ breast cancer patients vaccinated with the HER2/neu-derived peptide vaccine, E75, in a phase I/II clinical trial.

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Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, Windber Medical Center, Windber, PA, USA.



We have treated disease-free breast cancer patients with an HER2/neu-derived peptide, E75, as an adjuvant vaccine. E75 was originally described as HLA-A2-restricted and has been previously tested in this population. Based on computer modeling, E75 is predicted to bind to HLA-A3, and preclinical data support this. We conducted a clinical trial of E75 in HLA-A3(+), A2(-) (A3) patients.


Disease-free breast cancer patients were enrolled after standard therapy in phase I/II trials. A3 patients were enrolled in parallel with A2 patients and vaccinated with E75 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor immunoadjuvant. A2(-), A3(-) patients were followed as controls. Toxicities were graded. Immunologic responses were assessed by delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions and E75-specific interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay. Clinical recurrences were documented.


Thirteen A3 patients completed the vaccine schedule. Clinicopathologic features were similar between A3, A2, and control patients, except for more HER2/neu-overexpressing tumors in the A2 group and more estrogen-receptor/progesterone-receptor-negative tumors in A2 and A3 groups. Toxicity profiles and postvaccination delayed-type hypersensitivity were similar in A3 and A2 patients. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay results varied, but A3 patients' median spots increased pre- to postvaccination (p = 0.2). Recurrences were lower in the A3 group (7.7%) at 30-month median follow-up compared with published recurrence in A2-vaccinated (8.3%) and control groups (14.8%) at 26-month median follow-up.


HLA restriction limits potential use of peptide-based cancer vaccines. This trial demonstrates that HLA-A3 patients respond similarly to E75 vaccination as HLA-A2 patients, suggesting the potential use of the E75 vaccine in up to 76% of the population.

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