We report a case of metastatic melanoma treated with palliative radiotherapy to the primary tumor. The patient also experienced regression of non-irradiated lesions, demonstrating the abscopal effect. Importantly, serology showed anti-MAGEA3 antibodies, documenting an association between the abscopal effect and a systemic anti-tumor immune response. Whereas the literature suggests immune activation after tumor irradiation, this case documents an anti-tumor response seen in direct association with abscopal clearance. Implications for radiation in melanoma immunotherapy are discussed.
abscopal effect; melanoma; immunotherapy; cancer-testis antigen
Recent insights into the genetic and somatic aberrations have initiated a new era of rapidly evolving targeted and immune-based treatments for melanoma. After decades of unsuccessful attempts to finding a more effective cure in the treatment of melanoma now we have several drugs active in melanoma. The possibility to use these drugs in combination to improve responses to overcome the resistance, to potentiate the action of immune system with the new immunomodulating antibodies, and identification of biomarkers that can predict the response to a particular therapy represent new concepts and approaches in the clinical management of melanoma. The third “Melanoma Research: “A bridge from Naples to the World” meeting, shortened as “Bridge Melanoma Meeting” took place in Naples, December 2 to 4th, 2012. The four topics of discussion at this meeting were: advances in molecular profiling and novel biomarkers, combination therapies, novel concepts toward integrating biomarkers and therapies into contemporary clinical management of patients with melanoma across the entire spectrum of disease stage, and the knowledge gained from the biology of tumor microenvironment across different tumors as a bridge to impact on prognosis and response to therapy in melanoma. This international congress gathered more than 30 international faculty members who in an interactive atmosphere which stimulated discussion and exchange of their experience regarding the most recent advances in research and clinical management of melanoma patients.
Background. Patients with recurrent synovial sarcomas have few options for systemic therapy. Since they express large amounts of endogenous CT (cancer testis) antigens such as NY-ESO-1, we investigated the clinical activity of single agent anti-CTLA4 antibody ipilimumab in patients with advanced or metastatic synovial sarcoma. Methods. A Simon two-stage phase II design was used to determine if there was sufficient activity to pursue further. The primary endpoint was tumor response rate by RECIST 1.0. Patients were treated with ipilimumab 3 mg/kg intravenously every 3 weeks for three cycles and then restaged. Retreatment was possible for patients receiving an extra three-week break from therapy. Sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected before and during therapy to assess NY-ESO-1-specific immunity. Results. Six patients were enrolled and received 1–3 cycles of ipilimumab. All patients showed clinical or radiological evidence of disease progression after no more than three cycles of therapy, for a RECIST response rate of 0%. The study was stopped for slow accrual, lack of activity, and lack of immune response. There was no evidence of clinically significant either serologic or delayed type hypersensitivity responses to NY-ESO-1 before or after therapy. Conclusion. Despite high expression of CT antigens by synovial sarcomas of patients treated in this study, there was neither clinical benefit nor evidence of anti-CT antigen serological responses. Assessment of the ability of synovial sarcoma cell lines to present cancer-germ cell antigens may be useful in determining the reason for the observed lack of immunological or clinical activity.
We investigated whether antibodies against intracellular tumor-associated antigens support tumor-specific immunity when administered together with a treatment that destroys the tumor. We propose that released antigens form immune complexes with the antibodies, which are then efficiently taken up by dendritic cells. We cloned the first human monoclonal antibodies against the Cancer/Testis (CT) antigen, NY-ESO-1. We tested whether the monoclonal anti-NY-ESO-1 antibody (12D7) facilitates cross-presentation of a NY-ESO-1-derived epitope by dendritic cells to human CD8+ T cells, and whether this results in the maturation of dendritic cells in vitro. We investigated the efficacy of 12D7 in combination with chemotherapy using BALB/c mice bearing syngeneic CT26 tumors that express intracellular NY-ESO-1. Human dendritic cells that were incubated with NY-ESO-1:12D7 immune complexes efficiently stimulated NY-ESO-1157–165/HLA-A2-specific human CD8+ T cells to produce interferon-γ, whereas NY-ESO-1 alone did not. Furthermore, the incubation of dendritic cells with NY-ESO-1:12D7 immune complexes resulted in the maturation of dendritic cells. Treatment of BALB/c mice that bear CT26/NY-ESO-1 tumors with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus 12D7 was significantly more effective than chemotherapy alone. We propose systemic injection of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against tumor-associated antigens plus a treatment that promotes the local release of those antigens resulting in immune complex formation as a novel therapeutic modality for cancer.
NY-ESO-1; antibody; chemotherapy
The expression of Cancer/Testis (CT) antigens in some tumors and restricted expression in normal tissue make CT antigens attractive vaccine targets. We evaluated the expression of MAGE-A3, PLAC1, GAGE, and CTAG2 in a series of colorectal cancers (CRC). CT mRNA expression was determined via quantitative PCR on paired tumors and normal tissue samples from 82 CRC patients. In addition, plasma antibody titers specific to MAGE-A3, PLAC1, GAGE, and CTAG2 were determined via ELISA. Tissue expression of MAGE-A3 was assessed via a standard IHC protocol. The Student’s t-test was used for statistical analysis (significance p < 0.05). Tumor expression of MAGE-A3, CTAG2, and GAGE was compared to the levels of expression in testis. The percentage of samples that had a tumor vs. testis expression ratio above 0.1% was: MAGE-A3 (28%) and CTAG2 (17%) but no tumor presented GAGE expression levels above 0.1%. The expression levels of PLAC1 in tumors were compared to the levels in placenta, and in 12.8% of the samples analyzed, these levels were above 0.1%. Sero-reactivity specific for MAGE-A genes and PLAC1 was noted in 2.4% and 2.6% of patients, respectively. MAGE-A3 and PLAC1 may hold promise as vaccine targets for CRC. Further study is warranted.
MAGE-A3; tumor expression; colorectal cancer; Cancer/Testis antigens
Prediction of clinical outcome in cancer is usually achieved by histopathological evaluation of tissue samples obtained during surgical resection of the primary tumor. Traditional tumor staging (AJCC/UICC-TNM classification) summarizes data on tumor burden (T), presence of cancer cells in draining and regional lymph nodes (N) and evidence for metastases (M). However, it is now recognized that clinical outcome can significantly vary among patients within the same stage. The current classification provides limited prognostic information, and does not predict response to therapy. Recent literature has alluded to the importance of the host immune system in controlling tumor progression. Thus, evidence supports the notion to include immunological biomarkers, implemented as a tool for the prediction of prognosis and response to therapy. Accumulating data, collected from large cohorts of human cancers, has demonstrated the impact of immune-classification, which has a prognostic value that may add to the significance of the AJCC/UICC TNM-classification. It is therefore imperative to begin to incorporate the ‘Immunoscore’ into traditional classification, thus providing an essential prognostic and potentially predictive tool. Introduction of this parameter as a biomarker to classify cancers, as part of routine diagnostic and prognostic assessment of tumors, will facilitate clinical decision-making including rational stratification of patient treatment. Equally, the inherent complexity of quantitative immunohistochemistry, in conjunction with protocol variation across laboratories, analysis of different immune cell types, inconsistent region selection criteria, and variable ways to quantify immune infiltration, all underline the urgent requirement to reach assay harmonization. In an effort to promote the Immunoscore in routine clinical settings, an international task force was initiated. This review represents a follow-up of the announcement of this initiative, and of the J Transl Med. editorial from January 2012. Immunophenotyping of tumors may provide crucial novel prognostic information. The results of this international validation may result in the implementation of the Immunoscore as a new component for the classification of cancer, designated TNM-I (TNM-Immune).
The abscopal effect is a phenomenon in which local radiotherapy is associated with the regression of metastatic cancer at a distance from the irradiated site. The abscopal effect may be mediated by activation of the immune system. Ipilimumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits an immunologic checkpoint on T cells, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4). We report a case of the abscopal effect in a patient with melanoma treated with ipilimumab and radiotherapy. Temporal associations were noted: tumor shrinkage with antibody responses to the cancer–testis antigen NY-ESO-1, changes in peripheral-blood immune cells, and increases in antibody responses to other antigens after radiotherapy. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
Light-chain amyloidosis (AL) is a plasma cell dyscrasia closely related to multiple myeloma. In multiple myeloma, the cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) CT7 (MAGE-C1), CT10 (MAGE-C2) and MAGE-A CTAs are expressed in up to 80% of cases. In this study, we investigated the expression and immunogenicity of several CTAs in patients with AL amyloidosis in a total of 38 bone marrow specimens by employing standard immunohistochemistry techniques on paraffin-embedded archival tissues. Plasma samples from 35 patients (27 with matched bone marrow samples) were also analyzed by ELISA for sero reactivity to a group of full-length CTA proteins. CT7 was present in 25/38 (66%) while CT10 was demonstrated in 3/38 and GAGE in 1/38 AL amyloid cases. The expression pattern was mostly focal. There were no significant differences with regard to organ involvement, response to treatment, or prognosis in CTA positive compared to negative cases. None of the specimens showed spontaneous humoral immunity to CT7, but sero reactivity was observed in individual patients to other CTAs. This study identifies CT7 as the prevalent CTA in plasma cells of patients with AL amyloidosis. Further analyses determining the biology of CTAs in AL amyloidosis and their value as potential targets for immunotherapy are warranted.
AL amyloidosis; cancer-testis antigens; stem cell transplantation
NY-ESO-1 cancer testis (CT) antigen is an attractive candidate for immunotherapy as a result of its high immunogenicity. The aim of this study was to explore the potential for NY-ESO-1 antigen directed immunotherapy in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) by determining the frequency of expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the degree of inherent immunogenicity to NY-ESO-1.
168 TNBC and 47 ER+/HER2- primary breast cancer specimens were used to determine NY-ESO-1 frequency by IHC. As previous studies have shown that patients with a robust innate humoral immune response to CT antigens are more likely to develop CD8 T-cell responses to NY-ESO-1 peptides, we evaluated the degree to which patients with NY-ESO-1 expression had inherent immunogenicity by measuring antibodies. The relationship between NY-ESO-1 expression and CD8+ T lymphocytes was also examined.
The frequency of NY-ESO-1 expression in the TNBC cohort was 16% versus 2% in ER+/HER2- patients. A higher NY-ESO-1 score was associated with a younger age at diagnosis in the TNBC patients with NY-ESO-1 expression (p = 0.026). No differences in OS (p = 0.278) or PFS (p = 0.238) by NY-ESO-1 expression status were detected. Antibody responses to NY-ESO-1 were found in 73% of TNBC patients whose tumors were NY-ESO-1 positive. NY-ESO-1 positive patients had higher CD8 counts than negative patients (p = 0.018).
NY-ESO-1 is expressed in a substantial subset of TNBC patients and leads to a high humoral immune response in a large proportion of these individuals. Given these observations, patients with TNBC may benefit from targeted therapies directed against NY-ESO-1.
Tumor antigens NY-ESO-1 and p53 both frequently induce spontaneous serum antibody in cancer patients. While NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ and CD4+ circulating T-cells occur mainly in NY-ESO-1-seropositive patients, p53-specific circulating CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells are respectively undetectable and common in most individuals. Understanding T-cell split tolerance can help define suitable targets for immunotherapy.
CD8 T lymphocytes; NY-ESO-1; Serum antibody; cancer vaccine; p53; tolerance; tumor antigen
We developed an in vitro method for isolating and expanding autologous CD4+ T-cell clones with specificity for the melanoma-associated antigen NY-ESO-1. We infused these cells into a patient with refractory metastatic melanoma who had not undergone any previous conditioning or cytokine treatment. We show that the transferred CD4+ T cells mediated a durable clinical remission and led to endogenous responses against melanoma antigens other than NY-ESO-1.
Analyses of NY-ESO-1-specific spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients revealed that antibody and both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were induced together in cancer patients. To explore whether such integrated immune responses are also spontaneously induced for other tumor antigens, we have evaluated antibody and T cell responses against self/tumor antigen p53 in ovarian cancer patients and healthy individuals. We found that 21% (64/298) of ovarian cancer patients but no healthy donors showed specific IgG responses against wild-type p53 protein. While none of 12 patients with high titer p53 antibody showed spontaneous p53-specific CD8+ T cell responses following a single in vitro sensitization, significant p53-specific IFN-γ producing CD4+ T cells were detected in 6 patients. Surprisingly, similar levels of p53-specific CD4+ T cells but not CD8+ T cells were also detected in 5/10 seronegative cancer patients and 9/12 healthy donors. Importantly, p53-specific CD4+ T cells in healthy donors originated from a CD45RA− antigen-experienced T cell population and recognized naturally processed wild-type p53 protein. These results raise the possibility that p53-specific CD4+ T cells reflect abnormalities in p53 occurring in normal individuals and that they may play a role in processes of immunosurveillance or immunoregulation of p53-related neoplastic events.
Therapeutic immunization leading to cancer regression remains a significant challenge. Successful immunization requires activation of adaptive immunity, including tumor specific CD4 + T cells and CD8+ T cells. Generally speaking, the activation of T cells is compromised in patients with cancer due to immune suppression, loss of tumor antigen expression, and dysfunction of antigen presenting cells (APC). APC such as dendritic cells (DC) are key for the induction of adaptive anti-tumor immune responses. Recently, attention has focused on novel adjuvants that enhance DC function and their ability to prime T cells. Agonists that target toll-like receptors (TLR) are being used clinically either alone or in combination with tumor antigens and showing initial success both in terms of enhancing immune responses and eliciting anti-tumor activity. This review summarizes the application of these adjuvants to treat cancer and the potential for boosting responses in vivo.
Toll-like receptors; Cancer vaccines; Dendritic cells; Vaccine adjuvants
Due to the high homology between the LAGE-1 and NY-ESO-1 proteins,
we hypothesized that an anti-NY-ESO-1 vaccine might elicit LAGE-1
immunity and hence may be effective in multiple myeloma (MM) patients
with LAGE-1-positive/NY-ESO-1-negative tumors. Therefore,
we set out to evaluate LAGE-1 and NY-ESO-1 mRNA and protein expression
in MM patients in a bid to evaluate possible benefits of their homology
for immunotherapy. LAGE-1 (a and b isoforms)
and NY-ESO-1 mRNA expression was studied in 18
normal tissues and 50 bone marrow MM samples by RT-PCR. LAGE-1 and NY-ESO-1
protein expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in
27 MM specimens using mAbs 219-510-23 and E978. Spontaneous serological
immune response against both antigens was analyzed by ELISA in sera
from 33 MM patients. LAGE-1 (a and b isoforms)
was positive in 42% and NY-ESO-1 in 26% of
the MM samples analyzed by RT-PCR. Both genes were found to be expressed
in 18% of the cases, while at least one of the genes was found
to be expressed in 50% of the cases. In LAGE-1 positive samples,
81% were positive for LAGE-1a and 19% were
positive for both LAGE-1a and -1b.
LAGE-1 and NY-ESO-1 protein expression could only be detected in
two cases by IHC and there was a clear strong spontaneous antibody
response to LAGE-1 and NY-ESO-1 in only one MM patient. In conclusion,
LAGE-1a and NY-ESO-1 homology cannot be easily exploited in an anti-NY-ESO-1
vaccine given the low frequency of protein expression detected by
IHC or serum analysis.
myeloma; CT antigens; RT-PCR; immunohistochemistry; ELISA
The type I melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) proteins CT7 (MAGE-C1) and MAGE-A3 are commonly expressed in multiple myeloma (MM), and their expression correlates with increased plasma cell proliferation and poor clinical outcome. They belong to the cancer-testis antigen (CTAg) group of tumor-associated proteins, some of which elicit spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. CT7 and MAGE-A3 are promising antigenic targets for therapeutic tumor vaccines in myeloma; therefore, it is critical to determine if they are immunogenic in MM patients. We analyzed cellular and humoral immune responses against CTAgs in patients with plasma cell dyscrasias: MM, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM). Bone marrow lymphocytes from two of four untreated MM patients exhibited CT7-specific cellular immune responses as measured by an autologous cellular immunity assay, the first such immune response to CT7 to be reported in cancer patients. Sera from 24 patients were screened by ELISA for humoral immune responses to CTAgs. Two patients with MM demonstrated positive titers, one for MAGE-A1 and the other for SSX1. These data demonstrate that CTAgs, particularly CT7, are immunogenic in MM patients and merit further exploration as targets of immunological therapy in MM.
human; multiple myeloma; CT antigens; cellular immunity; humoral immunity
Saccharomyces cerevisiae stimulates dendritic cells (DCs) and represents a promising candidate for cancer vaccine development. Effective cross-presentation of antigen delivered to DCs is necessary for successful induction of cellular immunity. Here, we present a yeast-based vaccine approach that is independent of yeast’s ability to express the chosen antigen, which is instead produced separately and conjugated to the yeast cell wall. The conjugation method is site-specific (based on the SNAP-tag) and designed to facilitate antigen release in the DC phagosome and subsequent translocation for cross-presentation. We demonstrate that nonsite-specific chemical conjugation of the same protein hinders cross-presentation. Phagosomal antigen release was further expedited through the insertion of the invariant chain ectodomain as a linker, which is rapidly cleaved by Cathepsin S. The dose of delivered antigen was increased in several ways: by using yeast strains with higher surface amine densities, by using yeast hulls (cell wall fragments) instead of whole cells, and by conjugating multiple layers of antigen. The novel multilayer conjugation scheme takes advantage of Sfp phosphopantetheinyl transferase and remains site-specific; it enables the antigen dose to grow linearly with the number of layers. We show that whole yeast cells coated with 1 layer of the cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1 and yeast hulls bearing 3 layers were able to cross-prime naive CD8+ T cells in vitro, with the latter resulting in higher frequencies of antigen-specific cells after 10 days. This cross-presentation-efficient antigen conjugation scheme is not limited to yeast and can readily be applied toward the development of other particulate vaccines.
cross-priming; cross-presentation; cancer vaccine; conjugation; yeast
The type I melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) proteins CT7
(MAGE-C1) and MAGE-A3 are commonly expressed in multiple myeloma (MM),
and their expression correlates with increased plasma cell proliferation
and poor clinical outcome. They belong to the cancer-testis antigen
(CTAg) group of tumor-associated proteins, some of which elicit
spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. CT7 and MAGE-A3
are promising antigenic targets for therapeutic tumor vaccines in
myeloma; therefore, it is critical to determine if they are immunogenic
in MM patients. We analyzed cellular and humoral immune responses
against CTAgs in patients with plasma cell dyscrasias: MM, monoclonal
gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and Waldenström's
macroglobulinemia (WM). Bone marrow lymphocytes from two of four
untreated MM patients exhibited CT7-specific cellular immune responses
as measured by an autologous cellular immunity assay, the first
such immune response to CT7 to be reported in cancer patients. Sera
from 24 patients were screened by ELISA for humoral immune responses to
CTAgs. Two patients with MM demonstrated positive titers, one for
MAGE-A1 and the other for SSX1. These data demonstrate that CTAgs,
particularly CT7, are immunogenic in MM patients and merit further
exploration as targets of immunological therapy in MM.
myeloma; CT antigens; cellular immunity; humoral
Melanoma patients treated with anti-CTLA-4 have shown
a range of anti-tumor responses. In this report, we describe the
response of a single patient to anti-CTLA-4, with individual lesions
disappearing, others stabilizing, and others progressing. These
responses can be viewed as a clear manifestation of cancer immunoediting
and its three phases of elimination, equilibrium and escape, with
each tumor in this patient being at a discrete stage in the process.
The patient's course and associated immunological monitoring and
other laboratory data are presented in an immunogram,
a way to visualize temporal associations between the multiple clinical
and laboratory parameters.
human; melanoma; ipilimumab; case report; immunogram; immunoediting
T cell-mediated immunity to microbes and to cancer can be enhanced by the activation of dendritic cells (DCs) via Toll-like receptors (TLRs). In this study, we evaluated the safety and feasibility of topical imiquimod, a TLR7 agonist, in a series of vaccinations (26) proteins,(27) and DNA, (28, 29) as well as in vaccines using recombinant Listeria(30) or DCs.(31) In humans, it was shown that topical imiquimod treatment may enhance the immunogenicity of a melanoma peptide vaccine when given with systemic FLT3 ligand. (32) In addition, injection of immature DCs into imiquimod pretreated skin lead to DC activation in situ and enhanced migratory capacity to draining lymph nodes in cancer patients. (33)
In this study, we test the safety and feasibility of imiquimod in a vaccine against the cancer/testis antigen NY-ESO-1, and evaluate the immunogenicity of the combination. NY-ESO-1 is detectable in approximately 30% of metastatic melanomas. (34-36) It is against the cancer/testis antigen NY-ESO-1 in patients with malignant melanoma. Recombinant, full-length NY-ESO-1 protein was administered intradermally into imiquimod pre-conditioned sites followed by additional topical applications of imiquimod. The regimen was very well-tolerated with only mild and transient local reactions and constitutional symptoms. Secondarily, we examined the systemic immune response induced by the imiquimod/NY-ESO-1 combination, and show that it elicited both humoral and cellular responses in a significant fraction of patients. Skin biopsies were assessed for imiquimod's in situ immunomodulatory effects. Compared with untreated skin, topical imiquimod induced dermal mononuclear cell infiltrates in all patients composed primarily of T cells, monocytes, macrophages, myeloid DCs and natural killer (NK) cells, and to a lesser extent plasmacytoid DCs. DC activation was evident. This study demonstrates the feasibility and excellent safety profile of a topically applied TLR7 agonist utilized as a vaccine adjuvant in cancer patients. Imiquimod's adjuvant effects require further evaluation and likely need optimization of parameters such as formulation, dose and timing relative to antigen exposure for maximal immunogenicity.
Toll-like receptor; TLR7 agonist; imiquimod; cancer vaccine
The potency of the immune response has still to be harnessed effectively to combat human cancers. However, the discovery of T-cell targets in melanomas and other tumors has raised the possibility that cancer vaccines can be used to induce a therapeutically effective immune response against cancer. The targets, cancer-testis (CT) antigens, are immunogenic proteins preferentially expressed in normal gametogenic tissues and different histological types of tumors. Therapeutic cancer vaccines directed against CT antigens are currently in late-stage clinical trials testing whether they can delay or prevent recurrence of lung cancer and melanoma following surgical removal of primary tumors. CT antigens constitute a large, but ill-defined, family of proteins that exhibit a remarkably restricted expression. Currently, there is a considerable amount of information about these proteins, but the data are scattered through the literature and in several bioinformatic databases. The database presented here, CTdatabase (http://www.cta.lncc.br), unifies this knowledge to facilitate both the mining of the existing deluge of data, and the identification of proteins alleged to be CT antigens, but that do not have their characteristic restricted expression pattern. CTdatabase is more than a repository of CT antigen data, since all the available information was carefully curated and annotated with most data being specifically processed for CT antigens and stored locally. Starting from a compilation of known CT antigens, CTdatabase provides basic information including gene names and aliases, RefSeq accession numbers, genomic location, known splicing variants, gene duplications and additional family members. Gene expression at the mRNA level in normal and tumor tissues has been collated from publicly available data obtained by several different technologies. Manually curated data related to mRNA and protein expression, and antigen-specific immune responses in cancer patients are also available, together with links to PubMed for relevant CT antigen articles.
Identification of genes that are upregulated in tumors,
and whose normal expression excludes adult somatic tissues but includes germline
and/or embryonic tissues, has resulted in a rich variety
of cancer antigens that are attractive targets for cancer vaccine
and other therapeutic approaches. In the present study, we extended
this approach to include genes strongly and restrictively expressed
in the placenta by mining publicly available SAGE and EST databases.
We identified a number of genes with high expression in placenta
and different cancer types but with relatively restricted expression
in normal tissues. The gene with the most distinctive expression
pattern was found to be PLAC1, which encodes a
putative cell surface protein that is highly expressed in placenta,
testis, cancer cell lines and lung tumors. Hence we have designated
it CT92. We found by ELISA that PLAC1 is immunogenic in a subset
of cancer patients and healthy women. Its physical and expression
characteristics render it a potential target for both active and
passive cancer immunotherapeutic strategies.
human; tumor antigens; PLAC1; mRNA; tissue distribution; humoral
NY-ESO-1 is a cancer-testis antigen and an attractive
target for immunotherapy in patients with different malignancies.
Here we report the results of a phase I clinical study of intensive
course NY-ESO-1 peptide vaccination, evaluating the safety, immunogenicity and
clinical response in HLA-A2 positive patients with NY-ESO-1 expressing
cancers. Of 20 patients enrolled in the trial, 14 completed at least
2 cycles of immunization and were evaluable for clinical and immunological
response. Five of these evaluable patients were treated in cohort
1 (baseline seropositive) and 9 patients were treated in cohort
2 (baseline seronegative). During vaccination, NY-ESO-1-specific
CD8+ T-cells were induced in 3 of 9 baseline seronegative patients.
In patients with pre-existing antigen-specific CD8+ T-cells, their
number increased or remained stable. In contrast to previous immunization
protocols with less intensive immunization schedules, we observed
a rapid induction of high magnitude NY-ESO-1 peptide-specific T-cell
responses detectable already on day 15-22 of immunization. A specific
immune response of high magnitude and early onset may be more effective
in eliminating minimal residual disease in adjuvant treatment situations
and in preventing tumor progression due to immune escape mechanisms.
phase I clinical trial; cancer; NY-ESO-1; peptides; vaccination; immunological monitoring
Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are potential
targets for cancer immunotherapy, with NY-ESO-1 being among the
most immunogenic. In several clinical trials in malignant melanoma
(MM) patients, NY-ESO-1 protein/peptides showed clear evidence
of inducing specific immunity. However, little is known about NY-ESO-1
expression in primary and metastatic MM and its relationship to disease
progression. We analyzed NY-ESO-1 expression immunohistochemically
in a series of primary and metastatic MMs and its relation to prognostic
parameters and survival. We studied 61 primary and 63 metastatic
MM specimens (from 61 and 56 patients, respectively). The prevalence
of NY-ESO-1 expression was significantly higher in metastatic versus
primary tumors [18/56 (32%) versus 8/61
(13%), P = 0.015]. There
was a significant association between initial stage at presentation
and NY-ESO-1 expression [stage I (3.45%), stage
II (9.52%) and stage III (45.45%), P = 0.0014].
Primary MMs expressing NY-ESO-1 were significantly thicker than
NY-ESO-1 negative cases (median thickness 4.7 mm versus 1.53 mm
respectively, P = 0.03). No significant
difference was seen in overall survival. In conclusion, NY-ESO-1
is more frequently expressed in metastatic than in primary MM and
its expression is associated with thicker primary lesions and a
higher frequency of metastatic disease, indicative of a worse prognosis.
Our study suggests that patients with metastatic MM who express
NY-ESO-1 may benefit from NY-ESO-1-based immunotherapy.
human; melanoma; NY-ESO-1; immunohistochemistry; prognosis