, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 208-218
Date: 21 Sep 2004

Phase I/II study of immunotherapy with T-cell peptide epitopes in patients with stage IV melanoma

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Abstract

Previous studies in small groups of patients suggested that immunization of melanoma patients with peptide epitopes recognized by T cells could induce regression of melanoma. This approach was tested in 36 patients with stage IV melanoma. The (MHC class I–restricted) peptides were from gp100, MART-1, tyrosinase, and MAGE-3. The gp100 and MART-1 peptides had been modified to increase their immunogenicity. In half the patients (groups 3 and 4) the peptides were given in the adjuvant Montanide-ISA-720, and half the patients in both groups were given GM-CSF s.c. for 4 days following each injection. Treatment was well tolerated except for two severe erythematous responses to Montanide-ISA-720 and marked inflammatory responses at sites of GM-CSF administration in three patients. There were no objective clinical responses but stabilization of disease for periods from 3 to 12 months were seen in seven patients. Five of these were patients given the peptides in Montanide-ISA-720. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test responses were also seen mainly in the patients given the peptides in Montanide-ISA-720. GM-CSF did not increase DTH responses in patients in the latter group but may have increased DTH responses in those not given peptides in Montanide-ISA-720. Inflammatory responses around s.c. metastases or regional lymph nodes were observed in two patients. These results suggest that the peptides are more effective when given in the adjuvant Montanide-ISA-720. Nevertheless, results from this study, together with those from a number of comparable studies, indicate that peptide vaccines are currently of minimal benefit to patients and support the need for ongoing development of new strategies in treatment of this disease.