Exploitation of differential homeostatic proliferation of T-cell subsets following chemotherapy to enhance the efficacy of vaccine-mediated antitumor responses

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011 Sep;60(9):1227-42. doi: 10.1007/s00262-011-1020-8. Epub 2011 May 5.


The 5-year survival rate for stage IB-III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains 15%. Surgical resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin and vinorelbine is one standard-of-care. We sought to determine in a preclinical model whether (a) the combination of cisplatin and vinorelbine could positively modulate components of the immune system independent of antitumor activity, and (b) there were synergistic effects of this drug combination and vaccine immunotherapy. We examined the effect of cisplatin/vinorelbine on gene expression, cell-surface phenotype, and CTL-mediated cytolysis of murine lung carcinoma cells in vitro; we also assessed the effects of cisplatin/vinorelbine on immune subsets and function of Tregs in vivo. Finally, we evaluated the potential synergy between chemotherapy and a recombinant yeast-CEA vaccine in a murine model transgenic for CEA with mice bearing lung tumors. These studies demonstrate that exposure of lung tumor cells to the platinum doublet cisplatin/vinorelbine modulates tumor cell phenotype and increases sensitivity to CTL-mediated cytolysis. These studies also demonstrate that cisplatin/vinorelbine (a) induces sub-myeloablative leucopenia that differentially modulates reconstitution of Treg versus effector T-cell subsets and (b) can be employed synergistically with vaccine, exploiting homeostatic peripheral expansion of T cells. Antitumor studies show for the first time that cisplatin/vinorelbine combined with vaccine increases the survival of mice with established NSCLC. These findings provide the rationale for the potential clinical benefit of the combined use of vaccine with cisplatin/vinorelbine chemotherapy regimens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Survival Rate
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Vinblastine / administration & dosage
  • Vinblastine / analogs & derivatives
  • Vinorelbine


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Vinblastine
  • Cisplatin
  • Vinorelbine