• Allogeneic gene-modified tumor cells (RCC-26/IL-7/CD80) as a vaccine in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer: a clinical phase-I study.

      Westermann, J; Flörcken, A; Willimsky, G; van Lessen, A; Kopp, J; Takvorian, A; Jöhrens, K; Lukowsky, A; Schönemann, C; Sawitzki, B; et al. (2011-04)
      Despite novel targeted agents, prognosis of metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) remains poor, and experimental therapeutic strategies are warranted. Transfection of tumor cells with co-stimulatory molecules and/or cytokines is able to increase immunogenicity. Therefore, in our clinical study, 10 human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A(*)0201(+) patients with histologically-confirmed progressive metastatic clear cell RCC were immunized repetitively over 22 weeks with 2.5-40 × 10(6) interleukin (IL)-7/CD80 cotransfected allogeneic HLA-A(*)0201(+) tumor cells (RCC26/IL-7/CD80). Endpoints of the study were feasibility, safety, immunological and clinical responses. Vaccination was feasible and safe. In all, 50% of the patients showed stable disease throughout the study; the median time to progression was 18 weeks. However, vaccination with allogeneic RCC26/IL-7/CD80 tumor cells was not able to induce TH1-polarized immune responses. A TH2 cytokine profile with increasing amounts of antigen-specific IL-10 secretion was observed in most of the responding patients. Interferon-γ secretion by patient lymphocytes upon antigen-specific and non-specific stimulation was substantially impaired, both before and during vaccination, as compared with healthy controls. This is possibly due to profound tumor-induced immunosuppression, which may prevent induction of antitumor immune responses by the gene-modified vaccine. Vaccination in minimal residual disease with concurrent depletion of regulatory cells might be one strategy to overcome this limitation.
    • High immune response rates and decreased frequencies of regulatory T cells in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients after tumor cell vaccination.

      Pohla, Heike; Buchner, Alexander; Stadlbauer, Birgit; Frankenberger, Bernhard; Stevanovic, Stefan; Walter, Steffen; Frank, Ronald; Schwachula, Tim; Olek, Sven; Kopp, Joachim; et al. (2013-02-08)
      Our previously reported phase I clinical trial with the allogeneic gene-modified tumor cell line RCC-26/CD80/IL-2 showed that vaccination was well tolerated and feasible in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients. Substantial disease stabilization was observed in most patients despite a high tumor burden at study entry. To investigate alterations in immune responses that might contribute to this effect, we performed an extended immune monitoring that included analysis of reactivity against multiple antigens, cytokine/chemokine changes in serum and determination of the frequencies of immune suppressor cell populations, including natural regulatory T cells (nTregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cell subsets (MDSCs). An overall immune response capacity to virus-derived control peptides was present in 100% of patients before vaccination. Vaccine-induced immune responses to tumor-associated antigens occurred in 75% of patients, demonstrating the potent immune stimulatory capacity of this generic vaccine. Furthermore, some patients reacted to peptide epitopes of antigens not expressed by the vaccine, showing that epitope-spreading occurred in vivo. Frequencies of nTregs and MDSCs were comparable to healthy donors at the beginning of study. A significant decrease of nTregs was detected after vaccination (p = 0.012). High immune response rates, decreased frequencies of nTregs and a mixed T helper 1/T helper 2 (T(H)1/T(H)2)-like cytokine pattern support the applicability of this RCC generic vaccine for use in combination therapies.