Immunological responses in cancer patients after vaccination with the therapeutic telomerase-specific vaccine Vx-001

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2012 Feb;61(2):157-168. doi: 10.1007/s00262-011-1093-4. Epub 2011 Aug 20.


Vx-001, an HLA-A*0201 restricted telomerase (TERT)-specific anti-tumor vaccine, is composed of the 9-mer cryptic TERT(572) peptide and its optimized variant TERT(572Y). We have previously shown that Vx-001 is non-toxic, highly immunogenic and in vaccinated NSCLC patients early specific immune response is associated with prolonged survival. The aim of the present study was to investigate the specific T-cell immune response against Vx-001. Fifty-five patients with chemo-resistant advanced solid tumors were vaccinated with TERT(572Y) (2 subcutaneous injections) followed by TERT(572) peptide (4 subcutaneous injections) every 3 weeks. Specific immune response was evaluated by IFN-γ and perforin ELISpot and intracellular cytokine staining assays. TERT-reactive T cells were detected in 27 (51%) out of 53 evaluable patients after the 2nd vaccination and in 22 (69%) out of 32 evaluable patients after the completion of 6 vaccinations. Immune responses developed irrespective of the stage of disease and disease status before vaccination. Patients with disease progression at study entry who developed a post-vaccination-induced immunological response had a significant overall survival benefit compared to the post-vaccination non-responders. The Vx-001 vaccine is a promising candidate for cancer immunotherapy since it can induce a TERT-specific T-cell immune response that is associated with prolonged survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay
  • Female
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / immunology
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Analysis
  • Telomerase
  • Vaccination


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