Purpose: Idiotypes (Ids), the unique portions of tumor immunoglobulins, can serve as targets for passive and active immunotherapies for lymphoma. We performed a multicenter, randomized trial comparing a specific vaccine (MyVax), comprising Id chemically coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) plus granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to a control immunotherapy with KLH plus GM-CSF.
Patients and methods: Patients with previously untreated advanced-stage follicular lymphoma (FL) received eight cycles of chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone. Those achieving sustained partial or complete remission (n=287 [44%]) were randomly assigned at a ratio of 2:1 to receive one injection per month for 7 months of MyVax or control immunotherapy. Anti-Id antibody responses (humoral immune responses [IRs]) were measured before each immunization. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary end points included IR and time to subsequent antilymphoma therapy.
Results: At a median follow-up of 58 months, no significant difference was observed in either PFS or time to next therapy between the two arms. In the MyVax group (n=195), anti-Id IRs were observed in 41% of patients, with a median PFS of 40 months, significantly exceeding the median PFS observed in patients without such Id-induced IRs and in those receiving control immunotherapy.
Conclusion: This trial failed to demonstrate clinical benefit of specific immunotherapy. The subset of vaccinated patients mounting specific anti-Id responses had superior outcomes. Whether this reflects a therapeutic benefit or is a marker for more favorable underlying prognosis requires further study.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00017290.
© 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.