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Blood Cancer J. 2013 Sep 6;3:e145. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2013.44.

Induction of high-titer IgG antibodies against multiple leukemia-associated antigens in CML patients with clinical responses to K562/GVAX immunotherapy.

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Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, USA.


The ability to target myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy would represent a significant therapeutic advance. We report here immunological analysis of clinical trials of primary and secondary vaccination with K562/GM-CSF immunotherapy in adult chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia patients (CML-CP) with suboptimal responses to imatinib mesylate. Using serological analysis of recombinant cDNA expression libraries of K562 with autologous vaccinated patient serum, we have identified 12 novel chronic myeloid leukemia-associated antigens (LAAs). We show that clinical responses following K562/GM-CSF vaccination are associated with induction of high-titer antibody responses to multiple LAAs. We observe markedly discordant patterns of baseline and induced antibody responses in these identically vaccinated patients. No single antigen was recognized in all responses to vaccination. We demonstrate that an additional 'booster' vaccination series can be given safely to those with inadequate responses to initial vaccination, and is associated with more frequent induction of IgG responses to antigens overexpressed in K562 vaccine compared with primary CML-CP. Finally, those with induced immune responses to the same LAAs often shared HLA subtypes and patients with clinical responses following vaccination recognized a partially shared but non-identical spectrum of antigens; both findings have potentially significant implications for cancer vaccine immunotherapy.

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