Vaccination of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with an optimized cryptic human telomerase reverse transcriptase peptide

J Clin Oncol. 2007 Jul 1;25(19):2727-34. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2006.10.3465.


Purpose: To evaluate the immunological and clinical response as well as the safety of the optimized peptide telomerase reverse transcriptase p572Y (TERT572Y) presented by HLA-A*0201 in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Patients and methods: Twenty-two patients with advanced NSCLC and residual (n = 8) or progressive disease (PD; n = 14) following chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy received two subcutaneous injections of the optimized TERT572Y peptide followed by four injections of the native TERT572 peptide administered every 3 weeks. Peptide-specific immune responses were monitored by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay and/or TERT572Y pentamer staining.

Results: Twelve (54.5%) of 22 patients completed the vaccination program. Toxicity consisted primarily of local skin reactions. TERT572-specific CD8+ cells were detected in 16 (76.2%) of 21 patients after the second vaccination, and 10 (90.9%) of 11 patients after the sixth vaccination. Stable disease (SD) occurred in eight (36.4%) of 22 vaccinated patients, with three (13.6%) having had PD before entering the study. The median duration of SD was 11.2 months. After a median follow-up of 10.0 months, patients with early developed immunological response (n = 16) had a significantly longer time to progression and overall survival (OS) than nonresponders (n = 5; log-rank tests P = .046 and P = .012, respectively). The estimated median OS was 30.0 months (range, 2.8 to 40.0 months) and 4.1 months (range, 2.4 to 10.9 months) for responders and nonresponders, respectively.

Conclusion: TERT572Y peptide vaccine is well tolerated and effective in eliciting a specific T cell immunity. Immunological response is associated with prolonged survival. These results are encouraging and warrant further evaluation in a randomized study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HLA-A Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Telomerase / chemistry*
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomerase / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-A*02:01 antigen
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Peptides
  • Telomerase
  • telomerase reverse transcriptase p572Y, human