Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 60, Issue 8, pp 1097–1107 | Cite as

Dendritic cell-based vaccination of patients with advanced pancreatic carcinoma: results of a pilot study

  • Christian Bauer
  • Marc Dauer
  • Samira Saraj
  • Maximilian Schnurr
  • Franz Bauernfeind
  • Alexander Sterzik
  • Jana Junkmann
  • Veronika Jakl
  • Rosemarie Kiefl
  • Fuat Oduncu
  • Bertold Emmerich
  • Doris Mayr
  • Thomas Mussack
  • Christiane Bruns
  • Dominik Rüttinger
  • Claudius Conrad
  • Karl-Walter Jauch
  • Stefan Endres
  • Andreas Eigler
Original article


Background and aims

Dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccination can induce antitumor T cell responses in vivo. This clinical pilot study examined feasibility and outcome of DC-based tumor vaccination for patients with advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma.


Tumor lysate of patients with pancreatic carcinoma was generated by repeated freeze–thaw cycles of surgically obtained tissue specimens. Patients were eligible for DC vaccination after recurrence of pancreatic carcinoma or in a primarily palliative situation. DC were generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), loaded with autologous tumor lysate, stimulated with TNF-α and PGE2 and injected intradermally. All patients received concomitant chemotherapy with gemcitabine. Disease response was the primary endpoint. Individual immunological responses to DC vaccination were analyzed by T cell-based immunoassays using pre- and post-vaccination samples of non-adherent PBMC.


Twelve patients received DC vaccination and concomitant chemotherapy. One patient developed a partial remission, and two patients remained in stable disease. Median survival was 10.5 months. No severe side effects were observed. Tumor-reactive T cells could be detected prior to vaccination. DC vaccination increased the frequency of tumor-reactive cells in all patients tested; however, the degree of this increase varied. To quantify the presence of tumor-reactive T cells, stimulatory indices (SI) were calculated as the ratio of proliferation-inducing capacity of lysate-loaded versus -unloaded DC. The patient with longest overall survival of 56 months had a high SI of 6.49, indicating that the presence of a pre-vaccination antitumor T cell response might be associated with prolonged survival. Five patients survived 1 year or more.


DC-based vaccination can stimulate an antitumoral T cell response in patients with advanced or recurrent pancreatic carcinoma receiving concomitant gemcitabine treatment.


Immunotherapy Pancreatic cancer Dendritic cell Vaccination 



Antigen-presenting cells


Dendritic cells


Died of other causes


Dead of disease


Delayed-type hypersensitivity


Enzyme-linked immunospot


Keyhole limpet hemocyanin


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells


Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate


Stimulatory index


Transforming growth factor-β



This work was supported by grants from the Gravenhorst Stiftung (M.D.), the Förderprogramm für Forschung und Lehre (FöFoLe) of the University of Munich (C.B.), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ba 3824/1-1 to C.B. and Graduiertenkolleg 1202 to M.S., S.E.), and the Deutsche Krebshilfe (M.S.). This work is part of the doctoral thesis of S.S. at the University of Munich.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that no conflicts of interest exist.

Supplementary material

262_2011_1023_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 2080 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Bauer
    • 1
  • Marc Dauer
    • 5
  • Samira Saraj
    • 1
  • Maximilian Schnurr
    • 1
  • Franz Bauernfeind
    • 1
  • Alexander Sterzik
    • 1
  • Jana Junkmann
    • 1
  • Veronika Jakl
    • 1
  • Rosemarie Kiefl
    • 1
  • Fuat Oduncu
    • 1
  • Bertold Emmerich
    • 1
  • Doris Mayr
    • 7
  • Thomas Mussack
    • 4
  • Christiane Bruns
    • 3
  • Dominik Rüttinger
    • 3
  • Claudius Conrad
    • 3
    • 6
  • Karl-Walter Jauch
    • 3
  • Stefan Endres
    • 2
  • Andreas Eigler
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Medizinische Klinik InnenstadtUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Medizinische Klinik InnenstadtUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany
  3. 3.Chirurgische Klinik und Poliklinik GroßhadernUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany
  4. 4.Chirurgische Klinik und Poliklinik InnenstadtUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Medicine IISaarland University Hospital, Saarland UniversityHomburg/SaarGermany
  6. 6.Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  7. 7.Pathologisches InstitutUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany
  8. 8.Department of Internal Medicine I, Klinikum Dritter Orden, Teaching HospitalUniversity of MunichMünchenGermany

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