Autologous dendritic cells transfected with prostate-specific antigen RNA stimulate CTL responses against metastatic prostate tumors

J Clin Invest. 2002 Feb;109(3):409-17. doi: 10.1172/JCI14364.


Autologous dendritic cells (DCs) transfected with mRNA encoding prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are able to stimulate potent, T cell-mediated antitumor immune responses in vitro. A phase I trial was performed to evaluate this strategy for safety, feasibility, and efficacy to induce T cell responses against the self-protein PSA in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. In 13 study subjects, escalating doses of PSA mRNA-transfected DCs were administered with no evidence of dose-limiting toxicity or adverse effects, including autoimmunity. Induction of PSA-specific T cell responses was consistently detected in all patients, suggesting in vivo bioactivity of the vaccine. Vaccination was further associated with a significant decrease in the log slope PSA in six of seven subjects; three patients that could be analyzed exhibited a transient molecular clearance of circulating tumor cells. The demonstration of vaccine safety, successful in vivo induction of PSA-specific immunity, and impact on surrogate clinical endpoints provides a scientific rationale for further clinical investigation of RNA-transfected DCs in the treatment of human cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active / methods
  • Male
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / secondary
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Safety
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Transfection
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen