Vaccination of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients With Matured Dendritic Cells Loaded With Multiple Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Peptides

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Developing a process to generate dendritic cells (DCs) applicable for multicenter trials would facilitate cancer vaccine development. Moreover, targeting multiple antigens with such a vaccine strategy could enhance the efficacy of such a treatment approach. We performed a phase 1/2 clinical trial administering a DC-based vaccine targeting multiple tumor-associated antigens to patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC). A qualified manufacturing process was used to generate DC from blood monocytes using granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and IL-13, and matured for 6 hours with Klebsiella-derived cell wall fraction and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ). DCs were also loaded with 6 HLA-A*0201 binding peptides derived from carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), MAGE, and HER2/neu, as well as keyhole limpet hemocyanin protein and pan-DR epitope peptide. Four planned doses of 35×106 cells were administered intradermally every 3 weeks. Immune response was assessed by IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT). Matured DC possessed an activated phenotype and could prime T cells in vitro. In the trial, 21 HLA-A2+ patients were apheresed, 13 were treated with the vaccine, and 11 patients were evaluable. No significant treatment-related toxicity was reported. T-cell responses to a CEA-derived peptide were detected by ELISPOT in 3 patients. T cells induced to CEA possessed high avidity T-cell receptors. ELISPOT after in vitro restimulation detected responses to multiple peptides in 2 patients. All patients showed progressive disease. This pilot study in advanced CRC patients demonstrates DC-generated granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and IL-13 matured with Klebsiella-derived cell wall fraction and IFN-γ can induce immune responses to multiple tumor-associated antigens in patients with advanced CRC.

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