Purpose: Despite the vast number of clinical trials conducted so far, dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccines have mostly shown unsatisfactory results. Factors and manufacturing procedures essential for these therapeutics to induce effective antitumor immune responses have yet to be fully characterized. We here aimed to identify DC markers correlating with clinical and immunologic response in a prostate carcinoma vaccination regimen.Experimental Design: We performed an extensive characterization of DCs used to vaccinate 18 patients with prostate carcinoma enrolled in a pilot trial of T-cell receptor gamma alternate reading frame protein (TARP) peptide vaccination (NCT00908258). Peptide-pulsed DC preparations (114) manufactured were analyzed by gene expression profiling, cell surface marker expression and cytokine release secretion, and correlated with clinical and immunologic responses.Results: DCs showing lower expression of tolerogenic gene signature induced strong antigen-specific immune response and slowing in PSA velocity, a surrogate for clinical response. These DCs were also characterized by lower surface expression of CD14, secretion of IL10 and MCP-1, and greater secretion of MDC. When combined, these four factors were able to remarkably discriminate DCs that were sufficiently potent to induce strong immunologic response.Conclusions: DC factors essential for the activation of immune responses associated with TARP vaccination in prostate cancer patients were identified. This study highlights the importance of in-depth characterization of DC vaccines and other cellular therapies, to understand the critical factors that hinder potency and potential efficacy in patients. Clin Cancer Res; 23(13); 3352-64. ©2017 AACR.
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.