Enhanced therapeutic effect of B cell-depleting anti-CD20 antibodies upon combination with in-situ dendritic cell vaccination in advanced lymphoma

PMID: 23121670
Journal: Clinical and experimental immunology (volume: 170, issue: 3, Clin. Exp. Immunol. 2012 Dec;170(3):291-9)
Published: 2012-12-01

Manzur S, Cohen S, Haimovich J, Hollander N


The present standard of care for B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma includes the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab. Although combination treatments with chemotherapy and rituximab improved the duration of remissions and overall survival in indolent B cell lymphoma, the disease is essentially incurable. Thus, new therapeutic approaches are needed. One such approach is active immunization. Given that rituximab depletes both malignant and normal B cells, it is expected to impair humoral immune responses in vaccinated patients. Hence, optimal vaccination strategies for rituximab-treated patients require induction of effector T cells, which can be achieved by dendritic cell (DC) vaccines. We have demonstrated in a mouse model that chemotherapy combined with DC vaccines was therapeutically effective. However, efficacy was related to tumour size at the onset of treatment, decreasing in correlation with increasing tumour burdens. We therefore examined whether, in spite of its low efficacy in advanced disease, DC vaccination may synergize with anti-CD20 antibodies to enhance therapy. Lymphoma-bearing mice were treated with cyclophosphamide, anti-CD20 antibodies and an intratumoral DC vaccine. Results clearly demonstrated the enhanced therapeutic effect of this combination treatment. Thus, under conditions of disseminated disease, when either anti-CD20 antibody treatment or vaccination showed insufficient efficacy, their combination resulted in synergism that mediated long-term survival. We demonstrated further that the combination of antibody and vaccine induced T cell-mediated anti-tumour immune responses with long-term memory. Combination treatments including tumour cell-loaded DC vaccines may therefore provide a strategy for enhancing therapy in rituximab-treated patients.