Percutaneous BCG enhances innate effector antitumor cytotoxicity during treatment of bladder cancer: a translational clinical trial

Niannian Ji, Neelam Mukherjee, Edwin E. Morales, Maggie E. Tomasini, Vincent Hurez, Tyler J Curiel, Getahun Abate, Dan F. Hoft, Xiang Ru Zhao, Jonathan A Gelfond, Sourindra Maiti, Laurence J.N. Cooper, Robert Svatek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the gold standard immunologic agent for treating patients with high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Nevertheless, relapse rates remain high and BCG unresponsive NMIBC often requires bladder removal. Preclinical data suggest that priming with percutaneous BCG vaccine could improve response to intravesical BCG. Methods: A single-arm trial (NCT02326168) was performed to study the safety, immunogenicity, and preliminary efficacy of priming. Percutaneous BCG was given 21 days prior to intravesical BCG instillation in patients (n = 13) with high-risk NMIBC. Immune responses were monitored and compared to a sequentially enrolled cohort of nine control patients receiving only intravesical BCG. The effect of BCG on natural killer (NK) and γδ T cell in vitro cytotoxicity was tested. γδ T cell subsets were determined by T cell receptor gene expression with NanoString. Results: Priming was well tolerated and caused no grade ≥3 adverse events. The 3-month disease-free rate for prime patients was 85% (target goal ≥ 75%). Priming boosted BCG-specific immunity at 3 months and increased the activation status of in vitro expanded circulating NK and γδ T cells and their cytotoxicity against bladder cancer cells through receptor NKG2D. BCG enhanced the cytotoxicity of NK and γδ T cells against K562, RT4, and UM-UC6 but not against T24, UM-UC-3, or UM-UC-14 cells. Infiltrating γδ T cell subsets identified in the bladder includes γ9δ2 and γ8δ2. Conclusions: BCG priming is safe and tolerable. Poor sensitivity to NK and γδ T cell cytotoxicity by some bladder tumors represents a potential BCG-resistance mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOncoImmunology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • BCG
  • bladder cancer
  • clinical trial
  • Priming
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology

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