Author(s): Yu JS, Liu G, Ying H, Yong WH, Black KL
The primary goal of this Phase I study was to assess the safety and bioactivity of tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cell (DC) vaccination to treat patients with glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma. Adverse events, survival, and cytotoxicity against autologous tumor and tumor-associated antigens were measured. Fourteen patients were thrice vaccinated 2 weeks apart with autologous DCs pulsed with tumor lysate. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were differentiated into phenotypically and functionally confirmed DCs. Vaccination with tumor lysate-pulsed DCs was safe, and no evidence of autoimmune disease was noted. Ten patients were tested for the development of cytotoxicity through a quantitative PCR-based assay. Six of 10 patients demonstrated robust systemic cytotoxicity as demonstrated by IFN-gamma expression by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to tumor lysate after vaccination. Using HLA-restricted tetramer staining, we identified a significant expansion in CD8+ antigen-specific T-cell clones against one or more of tumor-associated antigens MAGE-1, gp100, and HER-2 after DC vaccination in four of nine patients. A significant CD8+ T-cell infiltrate was noted intratumorally in three of six patients who underwent reoperation. The median survival for patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme in this study (n = 8) was 133 weeks. This Phase I study demonstrated the feasibility, safety, and bioactivity of an autologous tumor lysate-pulsed DC vaccine for patients with malignant glioma. We demonstrate for the first time the ability of an active immunotherapy strategy to generate antigen-specific cytotoxicity in brain tumor patients.