Background: E75, a HER-2/neu-derived peptide, was administered as a preventive vaccine with granulocyte-macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in disease-free lymph node-positive (NP) and lymph node-negative (NN) breast cancer (BCa) patients. The optimal biologic dose (OBD) was determined based on toxicity and immunologic response.
Methods: Patients were vaccinated over 6 months (3, 4, or 6 times) with different doses of E75 plus GM-CSF. Toxicities were graded per National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria. GM-CSF was reduced for significant toxicity. Immunologic response was measured by delayed type hypersensitivity test (DTH), and E75-specific CD8+ T-cells were quantified with human leukocyte antigen-A2:immunoglobulin G dimer and flow cytometry.
Results: Ninety-nine patients (48 NP and 51 NN) were vaccinated in 7 dose groups. The OBD was 1000 microg E75 plus 250 microg GM-CSF monthly x 6. The optimal dose group (ODG, n = 29) experienced similar toxicities to the suboptimal dose group (SDG, n = 70), which was comprised of the remaining 6 groups. The ODG demonstrated a trend toward an increase in the average postvaccine dimer (0.87 +/- 0.10% vs 0.67 +/- 0.05%; P = .07), a significantly larger DTH response (21.5 +/- 2.5 mm vs 11.3 +/- 1.3 mm; P = .0002), and a trend toward decreased recurrences (3.4% vs 12.9%; P = .27). Compared with the SDG, the ODG had larger tumors (percentage > or =T2: 55% vs 23%; P = .004), more positive lymph nodes (percentage NP: 76% vs 37%; P = .001), and higher grade tumors (percentage grade 3: 52% vs 30%; P = .07), but a shorter median follow-up time (20 months vs 32 months; P < .001).
Conclusions: Compared with suboptimally dosed patients, the optimally dosed E75 vaccine in disease-free BCa patients had similar toxicity but enhanced HER-2/neu-specific immunity that may lead to decreased recurrences with additional follow-up.