Immunization of Cancer Patients with HER-2/neu-Derived Peptides Demonstrating High-Affinity Binding to Multiple Class II Alleles

Lupe G. Salazar, John Fikes, Scott Southwood, Glenn Ishioka, Keith L. Knutson, Theodore A. Gooley, Kathy Schiffman, Mary L. Disis

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76 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to immunize patients with HER-2/neu-overexpressing cancer with a multipeptide vaccine comprised of four class II HER-2/neu peptides that had been identified as the most immunogenic in a previous clinical trial. Furthermore, we questioned whether MHC binding affinity could predict the in vivo immunogenicity of the HER-2/neu helper peptides. Experimental Design: Four putative class II HER-2/neu peptides, which were found to generate detectable specific T-cell responses (stimulation index > 2) in a majority of patients in a previous study, were used to formulate a single vaccine. The multipeptide vaccine was administered intradermally with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor as an adjuvant. Ten patients with HER-2/neu overexpressing breast or lung cancer were enrolled. HER-2/neu peptide-and protein-specific T cell and antibody immune responses were measured. Competitive inhibition assays were used to analyze the class II HER-2/neu peptides for their binding affinity to 14 common HLA-DR alleles. Results: Twenty-five percent of patients developed HER-2/neu peptide-specific T-cell immunity, and 50% developed HER-2/neu peptide-specific antibody immunity. No patient developed HER-2/neu protein-specific T cell or antibody immunity. The majority of peptides exhibited high binding affinity, in vitro, to ≥3 of the 14 DR alleles analyzed. Conclusion: The group of peptides used in this study demonstrated high binding affinity to multiple DR alleles suggesting that in vitro binding affinity may be able to predict the in vivo immunogenicity of class II peptides. However, only a minority of patients immunized with the multipeptide vaccine developed HER-2/neu peptide-specific T cell or antibody immunity, and none developed HER-2/neu protein-specific immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5559-5565
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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