The tumor microenvironment state associates with response to HPV therapeutic vaccination in patients with respiratory papillomatosis

Sci Transl Med. 2023 Oct 25;15(719):eadj0740. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adj0740. Epub 2023 Oct 25.


Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a rare, debilitating neoplastic disorder caused by chronic infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) type 6 or 11 and characterized by growth of papillomas in the upper aerodigestive tract. There is no approved medical therapy, and patients require repeated debulking procedures to maintain voice and airway function. PRGN-2012 is a gorilla adenovirus immune-therapeutic capable of enhancing HPV 6/11-specific T cell immunity. This first-in-human, phase 1 study (NCT04724980) of adjuvant PRGN-2012 treatment in adult patients with severe, aggressive RRP demonstrates the overall safety and clinically meaningful benefit observed with PRGN-2012, with a 50% complete response rate in patients treated at the highest dose. Responders demonstrate greater expansion of peripheral HPV-specific T cells compared with nonresponders. Additional correlative studies identify an association between reduced baseline papilloma HPV gene expression, greater interferon responses and expression of CXCL9 and CXCL10, and greater papilloma T cell infiltration in responders. Conversely, nonresponders were characterized by greater HPV and CXCL8 gene expression, increased neutrophilic cell infiltration, and reduced T cell papilloma infiltration. These results suggest that papilloma HPV gene expression may regulate interferon signaling and chemokine expression profiles within the tumor microenvironment that cooperate to govern clinical response to therapeutic HPV vaccination in patients with respiratory papillomatosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Papilloma* / pathology
  • Papilloma* / therapy
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Vaccination


  • Interferons

Supplementary concepts

  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis