(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – A vaccine against targeted antigens prolongs survival in glioblastoma patients, according to a team of researchers of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Phase I trial of a multi-epitope-pulsed dendritic cell vaccine for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma,” which was published online in Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

In this phase 1 study, the investigators aimed to evaluate the safety and immune responses of an autologous dendritic cell vaccine raised against gliomas. The vaccine is autologous in the sense that it is composed of dendritic cells derived from the patient’s white blood cells. The dendritic cells are formed after these WBCs are “trained” in the laboratory to recognize specific proteins/antigens expressed on surface of the patient’s glioma. Once the dendritic vaccine was prepared, it was administered intradermally three times every 2 weeks.

There were 21 patients enrolled in this study, including 17 with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (ND-GBM), three with recurrent GBM, and one with brainstem glioma. The immune response rate for the ND-GBM group was 33%. Increases in both progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) correlated with the expression of a specific subset of antigens on patient gliomas.

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“At a median follow-up of 40.1 months, 6 of 16 ND-GBM patients showed no evidence of tumor recurrence, median PFS in ND-GBM was 16.9 months, and median OS was 38.4 months,” the investigators reported.

The investigators concluded that expression of targeted antigens in the prevaccine tumors correlated with prolonged overall survival and PFS in ND-GBM patients.