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Mannan mucin-1 peptide immunization: influence of cyclophosphamide and the route of injection.

Karanikas V, Thynne G, Mitchell P, Ong CS, Gunawardana D, Blum R, Pearson J, Lodding J, Pietersz G, Broadbent R, Tait B, McKenzie IF

  • Journal Journal of immunotherapy (Hagerstown, Md. : 1997)

  • Published 31 May 2001

  • Volume 24

  • ISSUE 2

  • Pagination 172-83


The mucin MUC1 is greatly increased in breast cancer and is a potential target for immunotherapy. In mice, MUCI conjugated to oxidized mannan (MUC1-mannan fusion protein [M-FP]) targets the mannose receptor and induces a high frequency of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and anti-tumor responses. On this basis, three phase I trials were performed in patients with adenocarcinoma to evaluate the toxicity and the immunologic responses to mannan MUCI. Forty-one patients with metastatic or locally advanced carcinoma of the breast (trial 1), colon (trial 2), and various adenocarcinomas (trial 3) received increasing doses of M-FP (1 to 300 microg). The immunizations were given at weekly intervals (weeks 1 to 3) and repeated in weeks 7 to 9. Cyclophosphamide (to increase cellular immunity) was given on weeks 1 and 4. M-FP was given intramuscularly in trial 1 and intraperitoneally in trial 2. No toxic effects occurred, and delayed-type hypersensitivity responses were present only as a microscopic lymphocytic infiltration. Overall, approximately 60% of the patients had high-titer MUC1 immunoglobulin G1 antibody responses, with the intraperitoneal route yielding approximately 10-fold higher responses. Cellular responses (proliferation, cytotoxic T cells, or CD8 T cells secreting tumor necrosis factor-alpha alphand interferon-gamma in response to MUC1 stimulation in vitro) were found in 28% of the patients, which was similar to that seen without cyclophosphamide. In most patients, disease progressed, but in five it remained stable. In addition, there were no objective responses. M-FP is not toxic and induces immune responses that were amplified by the intraperitoneal route of immunization. Cyclophosphamide was of no benefit.