Phase I/II clinical trial to assess safety and efficacy of intratumoral and subcutaneous injection of HVJ-E in castration-resistant prostate cancer patients

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Inactivated Sendai virus particles (hemagglutinating virus of Japan envelope (HVJ-E)) have a novel antitumor effect: HVJ-E fused to prostate cancer cells via cell surface receptor causes apoptosis of prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. HVJ-E also induces antitumor immunity by activating natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T cells and suppressing regulatory T cells in vivo. We conducted an open-label, single-arm, phase I/II clinical trial in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) to determine the safety and efficacy of intratumoral and subcutaneous injection of HVJ-E. Patients with CRPC who were docetaxel-resistant or could not receive docetaxel treatment were eligible. HVJ-E was injected directly into the prostate on day 1 and subcutaneously on days 5, 8 and 12 in two 28-day treatment cycles using a 3+3 dose-escalation design. The primary end points were to evaluate safety and tolerability of HVJ-E. The secondary end points were to analyze tumor immunity and antitumor effect. The study is registered at UMIN Clinical Trials Registry, number UMIN000006142. Seven patients were enrolled, and six patients received HVJ-E. Grade 2 or 3 adverse events (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events Ver. 4.0) were urinary retention and lymphopenia from which the patients recovered spontaneously. No Grade 4 adverse events were observed. Radiographically, three patients had stable disease in the low-dose group, and one patient had stable disease and two had progressive disease in the high-dose group. The prostatespecific antigen (PSA) declined from 14 to 1.9 ng ml-1 in one patient in the low-dose group after two cycles of HVJ-E treatment, and the PSA response rate was 16.6%. NK cell activity was elevated from day 12 to day 28 after HVJ-E administration, whereas serum interleukin-6, interferon (IFN)-α, IFN-β and IFN-γ levels were not affected by HVJ-E treatment. Intratumoral and subcutaneous injections of HVJ-E are feasible and PSA response was observed in a subgroup of CRPC patients.

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