BACKGROUND: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of a novel dendritic cell (DC) vaccine pulsed with survivin and MUC1, silenced with suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1), and immune stimulated with flagellin for patients with stage I to IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a phase I open-label, uncontrolled, and dose-escalation trial. Moreover, we evaluate the potential efficacy of this modified DC vaccine as secondary aim.
METHODS: The patients were treated with the vaccine at 1 × 10, 1 × 10and the maximum dose 8 × 10 at day 7, 14, and 21 after characterization of the vaccine phenotype by flow cytometry. The safety of the vaccine was assessed by adverse events, and the efficacy by the levels of several specific tumor markers and the patient quality of life.
RESULTS: The vaccine was well tolerated without dose-limiting toxicity even at higher doses. The most common adverse event reported was just grade 1 flu-like symptoms without unanticipated or serious adverse event. A significant decrease in CD3 + CD4 + CD25 + Foxp3+ T regulatory (Treg) cell number and increase in TNF-α and IL-6 were observed in two patients. Two patients showed 15% and 64% decrease in carcino-embryonic antigen and CYFRA21, respectively. The vaccination with the maximum dose significantly improved the patients’quality of life when administered at the highest dose. More importantly, in the long-term follow-up until February 17, 2017, 1 patient had no recurrence, 1 patients had a progressive disease (PD), and 1 patient was died in the low dose group. In the middle dose group, all 3 patients had no recurrence. In the high dose group, 1 patient was died, 1 patient had a PD, and the other 7 patients had no recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS: We provide preliminary data on the safety and efficacy profile of a novel vaccine against non-small cell lung cancer, which was reasonably well tolerated, induced modest antitumor activity without dose-limiting toxicity, and improved patients‘ quality of life. Further more, the vaccine maybe a very efficacious treatment for patients with resected NSCLC to prevent recurrence. Our findings on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in this phase I trial warrant future phase II/III clinical trial.