Purpose: This phase I-II study was designed to assess safety and clinical efficacy of SRLI72 vaccine in patients with advanced stage IV (AJCC) malignant melanoma. Induction of intracellular cytokines (IL-2 and INF-γ) in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLCs) from these patients was assayed and correlated to clinical outcome. Patients and methods: SRL172 was administered intradermally to 24 patients with stage IV malignant melanoma, initially at 15-day intervals for three vaccinations and then at monthly intervals. Lymphocyte activation for cytokines in PBLCs was assayed prior to each vaccine administration using at FACS-based intracellular cytokine assay. Survival was compared to historical controls. Results: The vaccination schedule resulted in sustained intracellular IL-2 induction in PBLCs in 9 of 23 patients (39%) who received at least three doses. Cytokine induction became apparent within the first three administrations of vaccine and was maximal at 8-12 weeks. Induction of intracellular IL-2 production (group 1) was associated with improved survival (P < 0.036). The median survival of the nine patients demonstrating IL-2 induction was 59 (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 47-71) weeks compared to 31 (95% CI: 1844) weeks for the non- inducers. Induction of INF-γ (group 2) was found in 10 patients and 6 patients had IL-2 and INF-γ induction(group 3). There was no survival advantage for these patient groups. Although no objective responses were documented the group as a whole had a median survival of 44 (95c% CI: 31-59) weeks which is better than that of historical controls. SRL 172 was safe and well tolerated. Conclusion: SRL172 is effective in inducing intracellular IL- 2 responses in PBLCs of a significant number of patients with stage IV (AJCC) melanoma. This is correlated with improved survival. The survival analysis is sufficiently encouraging to suggest that further prospective trials are justified. The methodology we present in this study may help in developing surrogate markers that will allow rational immunotherapeutic strategies to be designed for cancer patients.
- Cancer vaccines
- Mycobacterium vaccae (SRL 172)
ASJC Scopus subject areas