Aim: To investigate the effects of autologous tumor vaccine on recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: Sixty patients with HCC who had undergone curative resection, were randomly divided into HCC vaccine group and control group. Three vaccinations at 2-wk intervals were performed after curative hepatic resection. Delayed-type- hypersensitivity (DTH) test was performed before and after vaccination. Primary endpoints were the time of recurrence.
Results: Four patients in control group and 6 patients in HCC vaccine group were withdrawn from the study. The vaccine containing human autologous HCC fragments showed no essential adverse effect in a phase II clinical trial and 17 of 24 patients developed a DTH response against the fragments. Three of 17 DTH-positive response patients and 5 of 7 DTH-negative response patients had recurrences after curative resection. After the operation, 1-, 2- and 3-year recurrence rates of HCC vaccine group were 16.7%, 29.2% and 33.3%, respectively. But, 1-, 2- and 3-year recurrence rates of the control group were 30.8%, 53.8% and 61.5%, respectively. The time before the first recurrence in the vaccinated patients was significantly longer than that in the control patients (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Autologous tumor vaccine is of promise in decreasing recurrence of human HCC.