Antigen-specific immunoreactivity and clinical outcome following vaccination with glioma-associated antigen peptides in children with recurrent high-grade gliomas: results of a pilot study
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- Pollack, I.F., Jakacki, R.I., Butterfield, L.H. et al. J Neurooncol (2016) 130: 517. doi:10.1007/s11060-016-2245-3
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Recurrent high-grade gliomas (HGGs) of childhood have an exceedingly poor prognosis with current therapies. Accordingly, new treatment approaches are needed. We initiated a pilot trial of vaccinations with peptide epitopes derived from glioma-associated antigens (GAAs) overexpressed in these tumors in HLA-A2+ children with recurrent HGG that had progressed after prior treatments. Peptide epitopes for three GAAs (EphA2, IL13Rα2, survivin), emulsified in Montanide-ISA-51, were administered subcutaneously adjacent to intramuscular injections of poly-ICLC every 3 weeks for 8 courses, followed by booster vaccines every 6 weeks. Primary endpoints were safety and T-cell responses against the GAA epitopes, assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) analysis. Treatment response was evaluated clinically and by magnetic resonance imaging. Twelve children were enrolled, 6 with glioblastoma, 5 with anaplastic astrocytoma, and one with malignant gliomatosis cerebri. No dose-limiting non-CNS toxicity was encountered. ELISPOT analysis, in ten children, showed GAA responses in 9: to IL13Rα2 in 4, EphA2 in 9, and survivin in 3. One child had presumed symptomatic pseudoprogression, discontinued vaccine therapy, and responded to subsequent treatment. One other child had a partial response that persisted throughout 2 years of vaccine therapy, and continues at >39 months. Median progression-free survival (PFS) from the start of vaccination was 4.1 months and median overall survival (OS) was 12.9 months. 6-month PFS and OS were 33 and 73 %, respectively. GAA peptide vaccination in children with recurrent malignant gliomas is generally well tolerated, and has preliminary evidence of immunological and modest clinical activity.