Purpose: Infection with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV-16 in particular is a leading cause of anogenital neoplasia. High-grade intraepithelial lesions require treatment because of their potential to progress to invasive cancer. Numerous preclinical studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of E7-directed vaccination strategies in mice tumour models. In the present study, we tested the immunogenicity of a fusion protein (PD-E7) comprising a mutated HPV-16 E7 linked to the first 108 amino acids of Haemophilus influenzae protein D, formulated in the GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals adjuvant AS02B, in patients bearing oncogenic HPV-positive cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Methods: Seven patients, five with a CIN3 and two with a CIN1, received three intramuscular injections of adjuvanted PD-E7 at 2-week intervals. Three additional CIN1 patients received a placebo. CIN3 patients underwent conization 8 weeks postvaccination. Cytokine flow cytometry and ELISA were used to monitor antigen-specific cellular and antibody responses from blood taken before and after vaccine or placebo injection.
Results: Some patients had preexisting systemic IFN-gamma CD4+ (1/10) and CD8+ (5/10) responses to PD-E7. Vaccination, not placebo injection, elicited systemic specific immune responses in the majority of the patients. Five vaccinated patients (71%) showed significantly increased IFN-gamma CD8+ cell responses upon PD-E7 stimulation. Two responding patients generated long-term T-cell immunity toward the vaccine antigen and E7 as well as a weak H. influenzae protein D (PD)-directed CD4+ response. All the vaccinated patients, but not the placebo, made significant E7- and PD-specific IgG.
Conclusions: The encouraging results obtained from this study performed on a limited number of subjects justify further analysis of the efficacy of the PD-E7/AS02B vaccine in CIN patients.
Copyright 2004 Springer-Verlag