Therapeutic efficacy of dendritic cell vaccine combined with programmed death 1 inhibitor for hepatocellular carcinoma

PMID: 33462840
Journal: Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology (volume: 36, issue: 7, J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jul;36(7):1988-1996)
Published: 2021-01-28

Teng CF, Wang T, Shih FY, Shyu WC, Jeng LB


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains a serious cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Developing new therapeutic strategies is urgently needed to improve the outcomes of HCC patients. Dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines and programmed death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitors have been regarded as potential immunotherapeutics for HCC. However, the therapeutic efficacy of combining these two treatments for HCC remains to be evaluated.

METHODS: In this study, DCs were derived from mouse bone marrow and pulsed with mouse HCC cell lysates to generate a DC vaccine. A monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction of mouse PD-1 with its ligands was used as a PD-1 inhibitor. An orthotopic HCC mouse model was established to assess the effect of a DC vaccine in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor on overall survival and tumor volume.

RESULTS: Compared with the untreated control, single treatment with a DC vaccine or PD-1 inhibitor prolonged the overall survival and reduced the tumor volume of HCC mice. Further, compared with the single treatment with the DC vaccine or the PD-1 inhibitor, a combination treatment using both agents elicited a higher cytotoxicity of T cells against HCC cells and resulted in a better overall survival, smaller tumor volume, and greater tumor cell apoptosis in HCC mice.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that a combination treatment with DC vaccine and PD-1 inhibitor may be a promising therapeutic strategy for HCC.