BACKGROUND: Indirect evidence suggesting the immunosensitivity/immunogenicity of neuroblastoma is accumulating. The aims of this study were to investigate the immune landscape of neuroblastoma and to evaluate the in vivo immunogenicity of the NY-ESO-1 tumor antigen in advanced neuroblastoma patients.
METHODS: The immune infiltrating cells of the NY-ESO-1+ tumors from three HLA*A201 patients with metastatic neuroblastoma who relapsed after conventional treatments were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The patients were vaccinated with the HLA-A*0201-restricted peptide NY-ESO-1157-165(V). The peptide was emulsified in Montanide ISA51 and given subcutaneously in a phase I pilot study. The immunogenicity of NY-ESO-1 antigen was evaluated by monitoring mononuclear cells in patient peripheral blood, pre- and post-vaccine, by short-term in vitro sensitization, HLA-multimer staining and IFN-γ ELISpot analysis.
RESULTS: Both CD3 T cells and CD163 myeloid cells were present in pre-vaccine tumors and PD-1 and PD-L1 expression was mainly found in the immune infiltrate. Despite the advanced stage of the disease, the vaccination induced systemic NY-ESO-1 specific CD8 T cells releasing IFN-γ in response to activation with the NY-ESO-1 peptide and an HLA-A2 positive neuroblastoma cell line.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that vaccination with a tumor-associated peptide is able to boost NY-ESO-1-specific, functionally active T cells in advanced neuroblastoma patients with lymphocyte infiltration in their pre-vaccine tumors.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: EudraCT #2006-002859-33.
- Antigens, Neoplasm/immunology
- Cancer Vaccines
- Child, Preschool
- Immunogenicity, Vaccine
- Immunotherapy, Active
- Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating/immunology
- Membrane Proteins/immunology
- T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology