Purpose: We conducted a phase I/II randomized trial to evaluate the clinical and immunologic effect of chemotherapy combined with vaccination in primary metastatic colorectal cancer patients with a carcinoembryonic antigen - derived peptide in the setting of adjuvants granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, CpG-containing DNA molecules (dSLIM), and dendritic cells. Experimental Design: HLA-A2-positive patients with confirmed newly diagnosed metastatic colorectal cancer and elevated serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) were randomized to receive three cycles of standard chemotherapy (irinotecan/high-dose 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin) and vaccinations with CEA-derived CAP-1 peptide admixed with different adjuvants [CAP-1/granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor/interleukin-2 (IL-2), CAP-1/dSLIM/IL-2, and CAP-1/IL-2]. After completion of chemotherapy, patients received weekly vaccinations until progression of disease. Immune assessment was done at baseline and after three cycles of combined chemoimmunotherapy. HLA-A2 tetramers complexed with the peptides CAP-1, human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I TAX, cytomegalovirus (CMV) pp65, and EBV BMLF-1 were used for phenotypic immune assessment. IFN-γ intracellular cytokine assays were done to evaluate CTL reactivity. Results: Seventeen metastatic patients were recruited, of whom 12 completed three cycles. Therapy resulted in five complete response, one partial response, five stable disease, and six progressive disease. Six grade 1 local skin reactions and one mild systemic reaction to vaccination treatment were observed. Overall survival after a median observation time of 29 months was 17 months with a survival rate of 35% (6 of 17) at that time. Eight patients (47%) showed elevation of CAP-1 - specific CTLs. Neither of the adjuvants provided superiority in eliciting CAP-1 - specific immune responses. During three cycles of chemotherapy, EBV/CMV recall antigen - specific CD8+ cells decreased by an average 14%. Conclusions: The presented Chemoimmunotherapy is a feasible and safe combination therapy with clinical and immunologic efficacy. Despite concurrent chemotherapy, increases in CAP-1 - specific T cells were observed in 47% of patients after vaccination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research