Live attenuated VZV vaccination induces antitumor immunity in ATLL patients

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2022 Oct 1. doi: 10.1007/s00262-022-03301-6. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is a CD4-positive peripheral T cell lymphoma caused by human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). Although ATLL is quite difficult to be cured, up-regulation of cellular immunity such as HTLV-1 Tax-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) has been proved to be important to obtain long-term survival. At present, no efficacious method to activate ATLL-specific cellular immunity is available. This study aimed to investigate whether live attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV) vaccination to ATLL can activate HTLV-1 Tax-specific cellular immune response. A total of 3 indolent- and 3 aggressive-type ATLL patients were enrolled. All aggressive-type patients had the VZV vaccination after completing anti-ATLL treatment including mogamulizumab, which is a monoclonal antibody for C-C chemokine receptor 4 antigen, plus combination chemotherapy, whereas all indolent-type patients had the VZV vaccination without any antitumor treatment. Cellular immune responses including Tax-specific CTLs were analyzed at several time points of pre- and post-VZV vaccination. After the VZV vaccination, a moderate increase in 1 of 3 indolent-type patients and obvious increase in all 3 aggressive-type patients in Tax-specific CTLs percentage were observed. The increase in the cell-mediated immunity against VZV was observed in all indolent- and aggressive-type patients after VZV vaccination. To conclude, VZV vaccination to aggressive-type ATLL patients after mogamulizumab plus chemotherapy led to the up-regulation of HTLV-1 Tax-specific CTLs without any adverse event. Suppression of regulatory T lymphocytes by mogamulizumab may have contributed to increase tumor immunity in aggressive-type ATLL patients. Japan Registry of Clinical Trials number, jRCTs051180107.

Keywords: ATLL; Adult T cell leukemia; HTLV-1 Tax; Lymphoma; T cell receptor repertoire; VZV; Varicella-zoster virus vaccine.