Immune Monitoring in a Phase 1 Trial of a PSA DNA Vaccine in Patients with Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer

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Summary:Prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer illness and death among men in Europe. No curative treatment exists when the disease has spread beyond the prostate. Immunotherapy with DNA vaccines has emerged as a potential therapeutic approach for the induction of antitumor specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. In this study six patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer were monitored for their ability to mount PSA-specific cellular responses after receiving a pVAX/PSA DNA vaccine (patients 1-3, 100 μg; patients 7-9, 900 μg) with recombinant GM-CSF and IL-2 as adjuvants. IFNγ ELISPOT showed that naturally processed PSA protein and PSA peptides are recognized by T cells in the blood of some prostate cancer patients after a PSA DNA vaccine. Analysis of other cytokines showed the production of IL-4 and IL-6 but importantly did not show an increase in the number of IL-10-producing cells after vaccination in any of the patients. The authors conclude that a pVAX/PSA DNA vaccine can induce PSA-specific cellular immune responses in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer, thus emphasizing the potential for PSA as a target molecule for the immunotherapy of prostate cancer.

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