BACKGROUND: Autologous monocyte-derived mRNA co-electroporated dendritic cells with mRNA encoding CD40 ligand (CD40L), CD70 and a constitutively activated TLR4 (caTLR4) (referred to as TriMixDC-MEL) have anti-tumor activity in advanced melanoma patients. We investigated the safety and activity of adjuvant TriMixDC-MEL in stage III/IV melanoma patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-one patients were randomly assigned to treatment with TriMixDC-MEL (n = 21) and standard follow-up (n = 20). "Cross-over" was allowed at the time of non-salvageable recurrence. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients alive and disease-free at 1-year. For a subset of patients, (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded), tumor tissue samples were available for mRNA expression profiling and PD-L1 immunohistochemical staining.
RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were well balanced. One-year after randomization, 71% of patients in the study arm were alive and free of disease compared to 35% in the control arm. After a median follow-up of 53 months (range 3-67), 23 patients experienced a non-salvageable melanoma recurrence (TriMixDC-Mel arm n = 9 and control arm n = 14).The median time to non-salvageable recurrence was superior in the TriMixDC-MEL arm (median 8 months (range 1-6) vs. not reached; log-rank p 0.044). TriMixDC-MEL-related adverse events (AE) consisted of transient local skin reactions, flu-like symptoms and post-infusion chills. No grade ≥ 3 AE's occurred. The mRNA expression profiling revealed four genes (STAT2, TPSAB1, CD9 and CSF2) as potential predictive biomarkers.
CONCLUSION: TriMixDC-MEL id/iv as adjuvant therapy is tolerable and may improve the 1-year disease-free survival rate. Combination of optimized autologous monocyte-derived DC-formulations warrants further investigation in combination with currently approved adjuvant therapy options.
- Adjuvant therapy
- Dendritic vaccine