Background: The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A/ VAGF receptors (VEGFRs) signaling plays a pivotal role in the tumor angiogenesis and the development of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in glioblastomas. We have previously conducted exploratory clinical studies investigating VEGFRs peptide vaccination with and without multiple glioma oncoantigens in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas. Recently, an exploratory clinical investigation of VEGFRs peptide vaccination was conducted in patients with progressive neurofibromatosis type 2. Those studies suggested that cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) induced by the vaccination can directly kill a wide variety of cells associated with tumor growth, including tumor vessels, tumor cells, and immunosuppressive cells expressing VEGFR1 and/or 2. In the present study, synergistic activity of the combination of VEGFRs peptide vaccination with chemotherapy was evaluated. Methods: We performed the first clinical trial to assess VEGFR1 and 2 vaccination along with temozolomide (TMZ) -based chemoradiotherapy for the patients with primary glioblastomas. Furthermore, histopathological changes after the vaccination were evaluated using paired pre- and post- vaccination specimens. Results: The disappearance of radiographically enhanced lesion was observed in 2 patients after the vaccination, including one in which the methylation of the O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter was not observed. The histopathological findings of pre- and post-vaccination specimens demonstrated that tumor vessels showed negative or slight VEGFRs expressions after the vaccination and most endothelial cells were covered with PDGFR-β-positive pericytes. Notably, CTLs induced by VEGFRs peptide vaccination attacked not only tumor vessels but also tumor cells and regulatory T cells expressing VEGFRs even in recurrent tumors. Conclusions: VEGFR1 and 2 vaccination may have a preliminary synergistic effect when administered with TMZ. The limitation of the present study was the paucity of the number of the samples. Further studies involving more patients are warranted to confirm the findings of this study. Trial registration: This study was registered as UMIN000013381 (University Hospital Medical Information Network-Clinical Trial Registry: UMIN-CTR) on 5 March, 2014 and with the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials (jRCT) as jRCTs031180170 on 1 March, 2019.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research