BACKGROUND/AIM: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) remains one of the most aggressive tumors with a dismally poor prognosis. Although surgical resection remains the only potentially curative treatment, most PDAs are not surgically resectable at diagnosis. Therefore, multimodal therapy is urgently needed to improve the long-term survival of PDA patients.
METHODS: Six eligible PDA patients underwent multimodal therapy comprising dendritic cells (DCs) pulsed with Wilms‘ tumor 1 (WT1) peptide (DC/WT1-I) restricted by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I (A*24:02 or A*02:06) allele, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. Patient laboratory data, DC/WT1-I-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions, and WT1-specific immune responses were analyzed to assess the prognostic markers of multimodal therapy.
RESULTS: Compared to 2-treatment type combinations, multimodal therapy involving 3 to 4 treatment types was significantly associated with longer overall survival (p = 0.0177). Moreover, after 7 DC/WT1-I vaccinations, the progression-free survival (PFS) of PDA patients with a neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) level less than the median was superior to that of PDA patients with values above the median (p = 0.0246). PDA patients with an overall survival (OS)>1000 days had significantly more lymphocytes after one DC/WT1-I vaccination course than did those with an OS<1000 days.
CONCLUSION: Multimodal therapy involving the DC/WT1-I vaccination may benefit patients with advanced PDA. However, comparing the limited number of PDA patients in terms of survival is difficult because the patients were at different disease stages and received different treatments. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical benefits of this multimodal therapy.