Background: Since a phase I clinical trial using three HLA-A24-binding peptides from TTK protein kinase (TTK), lymphocyte antigen-6 complex locus K (LY6K), and insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA binding protein-3 (IMP3) had been shown to be promising for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), we further performed a multicenter, non-randomized phase II clinical trial.
Patients and methods: Sixty ESCC patients were enrolled to evaluate OS, PFS, immunological response employing ELISPOT and pentamer assays. Each of the three peptides was administered with IFA weekly. All patients received the vaccination without knowing an HLA-A type, and the HLA types were key-opened at the analysis point. Hence, the endpoints were set to evaluate differences between HLA-A*2402-positive (24(+)) and -negative (24(-)) groups.
Results: The OS in the 24 (+) group (n = 35) tended to be better than that in the 24(-) group (n = 25) (MST 4.6 vs. 2.6 month, respectively, p = 0.121), although the difference was not statistically significant. However, the PFS in the 24(+) group was significantly better than that in the 24(-) group (p = 0.032). In the 24(+) group, ELISPOT assay indicated that the LY6K-, TTK-, and IMP3-specific CTL responses were observed after the vaccination in 63%, 45%, and 60% of the 24(+) group, respectively. The patients having LY6K-, TTK-, and IMP3-specific CTL responses revealed the better OS than those not having CTL induction, respectively. The patients showing the CTL induction for multiple peptides have better clinical responses.
Conclusions: The immune response induced by the vaccination could make the prognosis better for advanced ESCC patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00995358.