Objective: To determine whether 1 of 2 vaccines based on dendritic cells (DCs) and poxvectors encoding CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) and MUC1 (PANVAC) would lengthen survival in patients with resected metastases of colorectal cancer (CRC).
Background: Recurrences after complete resections of metastatic CRC remain frequent. Immune responses to CRC are associated with fewer recurrences, suggesting a role for cancer vaccines as adjuvant therapy. Both DCs and poxvectors are potent stimulators of immune responses against cancer antigens.
Methods: Patients, disease-free after CRC metastasectomy and perioperative chemotherapy (n = 74), were randomized to injections of autologous DCs modified with PANVAC (DC/PANVAC) or PANVAC with per injection GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor). Endpoints were recurrence-free survival overall survival, and rate of CEA-specific immune responses. Clinical outcome was compared with that of an unvaccinated, contemporary group of patients who had undergone CRC metastasectomy, received similar perioperative therapy, and would have otherwise been eligible for the study.
Results: Recurrence-free survival at 2 years was similar (47% and 55% for DC/PANVAC and PANVAC/GM-CSF, respectively) (χ2 P = 0.48). At a median follow-up of 35.7 months, there were 2 of 37 deaths in the DC/PANVAC arm and 5 of 37 deaths in the PANVAC/GM-CSF arm. The rate and magnitude of T-cell responses against CEA was statistically similar between study arms. As a group, vaccinated patients had superior survival compared with the contemporary unvaccinated group.
Conclusions: Both DC and poxvector vaccines have similar activity. Survival was longer for vaccinated patients than for a contemporary unvaccinated group, suggesting that a randomized trial of poxvector vaccinations compared with standard follow-up after metastasectomy is warranted. (NCT00103142)