Background: p53 accumulation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells creates a targetable tumor antigen. Adjuvant dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccination against p53 was tested in a phase I clinical trial. Experimental Methods: Monocyte-derived DC from 16 patients were loaded with two modified HLAclass I p53 peptides (Arm 1), additional Th tetanus toxoid peptide (Arm 2), or additional Th wild-type (wt) p53-specific peptide (Arm 3). Vaccine DCs (vDC) were delivered to inguinal lymph nodes at three time points. vDC phenotype, circulating p53-specific T cells, and regulatory T cells (Treg) were serially monitored by flow cytometry and cytokine production by Luminex. vDC properties were compared with those of DC1 generated with an alternative maturation regimen. Results: No grade II-IV adverse events were observed. Two-year disease-free survival of 88% was favorable. p53-specific T-cell frequencies were increased postvaccination in 11 of 16 patients (69%), with IFN-g secretion detected in four of 16 patients. Treg frequencies were consistently decreased (P = 0.006) relative to prevaccination values. The phenotype and function of DC1 were improved relative to vDC. Conclusion: Adjuvant p53-specific vaccination of patients with HNSCC was safe and associated with promising clinical outcome, decreased Treg levels, and modest vaccine-specific immunity. HNSCC patients' DC required stronger maturation stimuli to reverse immune suppression and improve vaccine efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research