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Int J Cancer. 2013 Jun 1;132(11):2557-66. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27939. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Clinical and immunologic responses in melanoma patients vaccinated with MAGE-A3-genetically modified lymphocytes.

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1
Division of Molecular Oncology, Unit of Cancer Gene Therapy, Program in Immunology and Bio Immunotherapy and Gene Therapy of Cancer, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy. v.russo@hsr.it

Abstract

Cancer vaccines have recently been shown to induce some clinical benefits. The relationship between clinical activity and anti-vaccine T cell responses is somewhat controversial. Indeed, in many trials it has been documented that the induction of vaccine-specific T cells exceeds the clinical responses observed. Here, we evaluate immunological and clinical responses in 23 MAGE-A3(+) melanoma patients treated with autologous lymphocytes genetically engineered to express the tumor antigen MAGE-A3 and the viral gene product thymidine kinase of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-TK). HSV-TK was used as safety system in case of adverse events and as tracer antigen to monitor the immune competence of treated patients. The increase of anti-TK and anti-MAGE-A3 T-cells after vaccination was observed in 90 and 27% of patients, respectively. Among 19 patients with measurable disease, we observed a disease control rate of 26.3%, with one objective clinical response, and four durable, stable diseases. Three patients out of five with no evidence of disease (NED) at the time of vaccination remained NED after 73+, 70+ and 50+ months. Notably, we report that only patients experiencing MAGE-A3-specific immune responses showed a clinical benefit. Additionally, we report that responder and non-responder patients activate and expand T cells against the tracer antigen TK in a similar way, suggesting that local rather than systemic immune suppression might be involved in limiting clinically relevant antitumor immune responses.

PMID:
23151995
DOI:
10.1002/ijc.27939
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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