, Volume 53, Issue 7, pp 633-641
Date: 25 Feb 2004

Vaccination with p53-peptide–pulsed dendritic cells, of patients with advanced breast cancer: report from a phase I study

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Peptides derived from over-expressed p53 protein are presented by class I MHC molecules and may act as tumour-associated epitopes. Due to the diversity of p53 mutations, immunogenic peptides representing wild-type sequences are preferable as a basis for a broad-spectrum p53-targeting cancer vaccine. Our preclinical studies have shown that wild-type p53-derived HLA-A2–binding peptides are able to activate human T cells and that the generated effector T cells are cytotoxic to human HLA-A2+, p53+ tumour cells. In this phase I pilot study, the toxicity and efficacy of autologous dendritic cells (DCs) loaded with a cocktail of three wild-type and three modified p53 peptides are being analysed in six HLA-A2+ patients with progressive advanced breast cancer. Vaccinations were well tolerated and no toxicity was observed. Disease stabilisation was seen in two of six patients, one patient had a transient regression of a single lymph node and one had a mixed response. ELISpot analyses showed that the p53-peptide–loaded DCs were able to induce specific T-cell responses against modified and unmodified p53 peptides in three patients, including two of the patients with a possible clinical benefit from the treatment. In conclusion, the strategy for p53-DC vaccination seems safe and without toxicity. Furthermore, indications of both immunologic and clinical effect were found in heavily pretreated patients with advanced breast cancer. An independent clinical effect of repeated administration of DCs and IL-2 can not of course be excluded; further studies are necessary to answer these questions.