, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 152-156

Presence of IgE antibodies to bovine serum albumin in a patient developing anaphylaxis after vaccination with human peptide-pulsed dendritic cells

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Dendritic cells are professional antigen-presenting cells that can be generated in vitro either from monocytes or from CD34+ peripheral blood progenitor cells by using recombinant cytokines. These cells have potential implications for immunotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. We have conducted a phase I study in melanoma patients using peptide-pulsed dendritic cells cultured in medium supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum (FCS) and a cocktail of cytokines. Peptide-pulsed dendritic cells were injected intravenously at 2-week intervals. Here we report on a case of type I hypersensitivity anaphylactic reaction after repetitive vaccination with autologous peptide-pulsed cells. Pre-vaccination and post-vaccination serum samples were evaluated for the presence of antibodies to FCS and bovine serum albumin (BSA). A retrospective study in 7 patients vaccinated with FCS-cultured dendritic cells demonstrated the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies to FCS and BSA after vaccination in 6 out of 7 patients. However, IgE antibodies were absent in all patients with the exception of the patient developing anaphylaxis. The patient's serum was demonstrated to contain a strong IgE response directed against BSA. In contrast, 2 patients vaccinated with dendritic cells cultured under serum-free conditions developed no antibodies to FCS and BSA after repetitive vaccination. We suggest that patients can be sensitized with an IgE response against BSA leading to anaphylactic reactions. On the basis of these data, dendritic cells cultured in autologous serum or under serum-free conditions are recommended for therapeutic applications in vivo.

Received: 25 November 1999 / Accepted: 20 January 2000