Dendritic cell vaccination plus low-dose doxorubicin for the treatment of spontaneous canine hemangiosarcoma
Angiosarcoma is a deadly neoplasm of the vascular endothelium. Metastatic disease is often present at diagnosis, and 5-year survival is only 10-35%. Although there exist no immunocompetent mouse models of angiosarcoma with which to study immune-based approaches to therapy, angiosarcoma is a major killer of companion dogs, responsible for up to 2% of all canine deaths in some susceptible breeds or an estimated 120,000 per year in the US. The canine disease (HSA) often presents in the spleen as acute hemoabdomen secondary to splenic rupture. Even if life-saving splenectomy is performed, median overall survival (OS) is only 48 days, and 1-year survival is negligible. Here we report the analysis of a pilot phase I open-label trial of chemo-immunotherapy performed on consecutively presenting splenectomized canines with histologically verified HSA. Subjects received an abbreviated course of low-dose doxorubicin plus alpha interferon and an autologous dendritic cell-therapy reported to enhance durable CD8 memory. Disease was monitored monthly by abdominal ultrasound, chest X-ray, and echocardiogram. Median OS in the per protocol population was 109 days including one of five animals that died cancer-free at 16 months after documented resolution of relapsed disease. These results indicate that therapeutic administration of chemo-immunotherapy is both feasible and safe, substantiating the rationale for additional veterinary and human clinical studies.