Survivin-peptide vaccination elicits immune response after allogeneic nonmyeloablative transplantation: A safe strategy to enhance the graft versus tumor effect

Paola Circosta, Katia Vitaggio, Angela Rita Elia, Maja Todorovic, Dario Sangiolo, Fabrizio Carnevale-Schianca, Antonella Vallario, Massimo Geuna, Massimo Aglietta, Alessandro Cignetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is an adoptive immunotherapy strategy whose effectiveness relies on graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect. We explored the feasibility of enhancing GVT after allo-HCT by peptide vaccination. Two myeloma patients were transplanted with a fludarabine-total body irradiation conditioning regimen and vaccinated with an HLA-A∗0201-restricted modified survivin nonapeptide, plus montanide as adjuvant. At time of first vaccination, one patient had just attained serological remission despite documented relapse after transplant, while the other patient was in stable disease. Both patients had an immune response to vaccination: the frequency of survivin-specific CD8+ T cells increased between second and sixth vaccination and accounted for 0.5-0.8% of CD8+ cells; CD8+ cells were functional in ELISPOT assay. The first patient persists in complete remission with a follow-up of >5 years, while the second patient did not have a clinical response and vaccination was halted. We analyzed the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire of the first patient by spectratyping and found that vaccination did not affect the diversity of TCR profile, indicating that survivin clonotypes were probably spread in multiple TCR families. We generated a limited number (n = 4) of survivin-specific T cell clones: three were reactive only against the modified peptide, whereas one clone recognized also the naive peptide. Peptide vaccination is safe and applicable after allo-HCT and elicits an efficient antigen-specific T cell response without causing graft-versus-host disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-767
Number of pages15
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018



  • allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • peptide vaccination
  • survivin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology

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