Background: Metastatic, chemotherapy-resistant melanoma is an intractable cancer with a very poor prognosis. As to immunotherapy targeting metastatic melanoma, HLA-A2+ patients were mainly enrolled in the study in Western countries. However, HLA-A24+ melanoma patients-oriented immunotherapy has not been fully investigated. In the present study, we investigated the effect of dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy on metastatic melanoma patients with HLA-A2 or A24 genotype. Methods: Nine cases of metastatic melanoma were enrolled into a phase I study of monocyte-derived dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy. HLA-genotype analysis revealed 4 cases of HLA-A*0201, 1 of A*0206 and 4 of A*2402. Enriched monocytes were obtained using OptiPrep™ from leukapheresis products, and then incubated with GM-CSF and IL-4 in a closed serum-free system. After pulsing with a cocktail of 5 melanoma-associated synthetic peptides (gp100, tyrosinase, MAGE-2, MAGE-3 and MART-1 or MAGE-1) restricted to HLA-A2 or A24 and KLH, cells were cryopreserved until used. Finally, thawed DCs were washed and injected subcutaneously (s.c.) into the inguinal region in a dose-escalation manner. Results: The mean percentage of DCs rated as lin-HLA-DR+ in melanoma patients was 46.4 ± 15.6 %. Most of DCs expressed high level of co-stimulatory molecules and type1 phenotype (CD11c+HLA-DR+), while a moderate number of mature DCs with CD83 and CCR7 positive were contained in DC products. DC injections were well tolerated except for transient liver dysfunction (elevation of transaminases, Grade I-II). All 6 evaluable cases except for early PD showed positive immunological responses to more than 2 melanoma peptides in an ELISPOT assay. Two representative responders demonstrated strong HLA-class I protein expression in the tumor and very high scores of ELISPOT that might correlate to the regression of metastatic tumors. Clinical response through DC injections was as follows: 1CR, 1 PR, 1SD and 6 PD. All 59 DC injections in the phase I study were tolerable in terms of safety, however, the maximal tolerable dose of DCs was not determined. Conclusions: These results suggested that peptide cocktail-treated DC-based immunotherapy had the potential for utilizing as one of therapeutic tools against metastatic melanoma in Japan.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)