The active immunotherapy concept relies on the use of vaccines that are capable of inducing antitumor immunity, reversion of the suppressive immunological environment, and long-term memory responses. Previously, antitumor vaccines based on a recombinant plasmid (pgDE7h) or a purified protein (gDE7) led to regression of early-established human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated tumors in a preclinical model. In this work, the anticancer vaccines were combined with cisplatin to treat HPV-induced tumors at advanced growth stages. The antitumor effects were evaluated in terms of tumor regression, induction of specific CD8+ T cells, and immune modulation of the tumor microenvironment. Acute toxicity induced by the treatment was measured by weight loss and histological alterations in the liver and kidneys. Our results revealed that the combination of cisplatin with either one of the tested immunotherapies (pgDE7h or gDE7) led to complete tumor regression in mice. Also, the combined treatment resulted in synergistic effects, particularly among mice immunized with gDE7, including activation of systemic and tumor-infiltrating E7-specific CD8+ T cells, tumor infiltration of macrophages and dendritic cells, and prevention of tumor relapses at different anatomical sites. Furthermore, the protocol allowed the reduction of cisplatin dosage and its intrinsic toxic effects, without reducing antitumor outcomes. These results expand our knowledge of active immunotherapy protocols and open perspectives for alternative treatments of HPV-associated tumors.
Keywords: Cancer; HPV; gDE7; immunotherapy; vaccine.
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