Background: Overall therapeutic outcomes of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are poor. The dendritic cell (DC) immunotherapy has been developed as a new strategy for the treatment of lung cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, safety and immunologic responses in use in mature, antigen-pulsed autologous DC vaccine in NSCLC patients.
Methods: Five HLA-A2 patients with inoperable stage III or IV NSCLC were selected to receive two doses of 5 × 107 DC cells administered subcutaneous and intravenously two times at two week intervals. The immunologic response, safety and tolerability to the vaccine were evaluated by the lymphoproliferation assay and clinical and laboratorial evolution, respectively.
Results: The dose of the vaccine has shown to be safe and well tolerated. The lymphoproliferation assay showed an improvement in the specific immune response after the immunization, with a significant response after the second dose (p = 0.005). This response was not long lasting and a tendency to reduction two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine was observed. Two patients had a survival almost twice greater than the expected average and were the only ones that expressed HER-2 and CEA together.
Conclusion: Despite the small sample size, the results on the immune response, safety and tolerability, combined with the results of other studies, are encouraging to the conduction of a large clinical trial with multiples doses in patients with early lung cancer who underwent surgical treatment.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN45563569.