A dendritic cell vaccine under development may increase median survival time in patients with glioblastoma, particularly those with a subtype that accounts for one-third of all cases, according to a recent study conducted at Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Linda Liau, MD, PhD, a researcher and professor of Neurosurgery at UCLA, said the findings mark the first time researchers have identified a subset of brain cancer patients more likely to respond to immunotherapy. Results were reported in a recent issue of Clinical Cancer Research (2011;17:1603-1615).
The researchers administered the vaccine after patients received the conventional treatments of surgery and radiochemotherapy, and deduced that it was associated with median survival of 31.4 months, double the usual 15-month survival time. Today, about one-third of the 23 patients who enrolled in the phase I study in 2003 are still alive.
“This is quite an encouraging result, especially in an early-phase study like this. It’s promising to see patients with this type of brain tumor experience such long survivals,” Liau, a senior author of the study, said in a press release.
Investigators noticed that the patients with gene expressions identified as mesenchymal responded better to the vaccine; mesenchymal is 1 of 3 subtypes of glioblastoma, the others being proneural and proliferative.
Liau is leading a randomized, multicenter phase II study to test the vaccine in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients.
Phase I Clinical Trial of Autologous Tumor Lysate-Pulsed DC TLR Agonists
The diagram above depicts the process of
administering the dendritic cell vaccine.