Purpose: To report on a phase I trial designed to find the maximally tolerated dose in children of the immunologic adjuvant OPT-821 in a vaccine containing neuroblastoma-associated antigens (GD2 and GD3; Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00911560). Secondary objectives were to obtain preliminary data on immune response and activity against minimal residual disease (MRD). Treatment also included the immunostimulant β-glucan.
Experimental design: Patients with neuroblastoma in ≥2nd complete/very good partial remission received vaccine subcutaneously (weeks 1-2-3-8-20-32-52). Vaccine contained 30 μg each of GD2 and GD3 stabilized as lactones and conjugated to the immunologic carrier protein keyhole limpet hemocyanin; and OPT-821, which was dose escalated as 50, 75, 100, and 150 μg/m(2) per injection. Oral β-glucan (40 mg/kg/day, 14 days on/14 days off) started week 6.
Results: The study was completed with 15 patients because there was no dose-limiting toxicity at 150 μg/m(2) of OPT-821 (the dosing used in adults). Thirteen of fifteen patients received the entire protocol treatment, including 12 who remain relapse-free at 24+ to 39+ (median 32+) months and 1 who relapsed (single node) at 21 months. Relapse-free survival was 80% ± 10% at 24 months. Vaccine and β-glucan were well tolerated. Twelve of fifteen patients had antibody responses against GD2 and/or GD3. Disappearance of MRD was documented in 6 of 10 patients assessable for response.
Conclusions: This immunotherapy program lacks major toxicity and is transportable to any outpatient clinic. Patient outcome is encouraging but the efficacy is uncertain because of the complexity and heterogeneity of prior therapies. A larger phase II trial is underway.