Vaccination of Renal Cell Cancer Patients With Modified Vaccinia Ankara Delivering the Tumor Antigen 5T4 (TroVax) Alone or Administered in Combination With Interferon-α (IFN-α): A Phase 2 Trial

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Abstract

Attenuated vaccinia virus, modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) has been engineered to deliver the tumor antigen 5T4 (TroVax). MVA-5T4 has been evaluated in an open-label phase 2 trial in metastatic renal cell cancer patients in which the vaccine was administered alone or in combination with interferon-α-2b (IFN-α). The safety, immunologic, and clinical efficacy of MVA-5T4 with or without IFN-α was determined. Twenty-eight patients with metastatic renal cell cancer were treated with MVA-5T4 alone (13) or plus IFN-α (15). The 5T4-specific cellular and humoral responses were monitored throughout the study. Clinical responses were assessed by measuring changes in tumor burden by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan. MVA-5T4 was well tolerated with no serious adverse event attributed to vaccination. Of 23 intent-to-treat patients tested for immune responses postvaccination, 22 (96%) mounted 5T4-specific antibody and/or cellular responses. One patient treated with MVA-5T4 plus IFN-α showed a partial response for >7 months, whereas an additional 14 patients (7 receiving MVA-5T4 plus IFN and 7 receiving MVA-5T4 alone) showed periods of disease stabilization ranging from 1.73 to 9.60 months. Median progression free survival and overall survival for all intent-to-treat patients was 3.8 months (range: 1 to 11.47 mo) and 12.1 months (range: 1 to 27 mo), respectively. MVA-5T4 administered alone or in combination with IFN-α was well tolerated in all patients. Despite the high frequency of 5T4-specific immune responses, it is not possible to conclude that patients are receiving clinical benefit. The results are encouraging and warrant further investigation.

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