Background: We performed a pilot study using Trojan vaccines in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). These vaccines are composed of HLA-I and HLA-II restricted melanoma antigen E (MAGE)-A3 or human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 derived peptides, joined by furin-cleavable linkers, and linked to a "penetrin" peptide sequence derived from HIV-TAT. Thirty-one patients with SCCHN were screened for the trial and 5 were enrolled.
Methods: Enrolled patients were treated with 300 μg of Trojan peptide supplemented with Montanide and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) at 4-week intervals for up to 4 injections.
Results: Following vaccination, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 4 of 5 patients recognized both the full Trojan constructs and constituent HLA-II peptides, whereas responses to HLA-I restricted peptides were less pronounced.
Conclusion: This treatment regimen seems to have acceptable toxicity and elicits measurable systemic immune responses against HLA-II restricted epitopes in a subset of patients with advanced SCCHN.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.