Patients receiving cytotoxic therapy for solid tumours are at risk of severe influenza. However, few data are available regarding the immunogenical efficacy of influenza vaccine in these patients.
In this prospective study, 25 patients with breast (n=13) or prostate (n=12) cancer received a trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine along with docetaxel (Taxotere) administration. The influenza virus type A and B antibody titres were measured using haemagglutinin inhibition (Garten et al, 2009) before and 21 days after the vaccination. Seroconversion rate was defined as the percentage of patients with an increase in the serum titres ⩾4 after vaccination.
Median age was 65 years (range: 33–87 years); 52% were females. Seroconversion rates were low: 28% (95% CI: 23.1–33.3) for H1N1, 8% (95% CI: 7.7–8.3) for H3N2 and 16% (95% CI: 7.7–25) for the B strain. The geometric mean titres ratios were 2.16 (H1N1), 1.3 (H3N2) and 1.58 (B). No serious adverse event (AE) related to the vaccine was reported. All the reported AE were from mild-to-moderate intensity.
In the patients receiving docetaxel for solid tumours, influenza vaccine triggers an immune response in only one third. Strategies using more immunogenic influenza vaccines must be evaluated in such patients.