MIAMI BEACHHeat shock protein peptide complex-96 (HSPPC-96,
Oncophage), an individualized cancer vaccine, produced complete responses in
two patients with metastatic melanoma and long-term stable disease in several
others during an Italian phase I-II trial.
Giorgio Parmiani, MD, of the Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei
Tumori in Milan, sent results on 39 patients (abstract 799) for presentation at
Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, an international conference
cosponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), National
Cancer Institute (NCI), and European Organization for Research and Treatment of
None of the patients had any toxic reactions to the vaccinenot even skin
irritation, Dr. Parmiani told the press by telephone from Italy. He is the
deputy scientific director and head of the immunotherapy unit at the Institute.
There were two complete responders among 28 patients who had measurable
disease after surgery to excise their tumors (see Figure). They have been
followed for 559+ and 703+ days, respectively. Three others have maintained
stable disease for more than 5 months.
Among 11 patients who had no measurable disease after surgery, two have been
disease-free for more than 1 year, Dr. Parmiani said.
"Overall survival appears to be unusual in this group of
patients," he said, noting that median survival is usually about 6 months
for patients with stage IV melanoma.
HSPPC-96 uses heat-shock proteins derived from the tumors of each individual
patient to make a unique vaccine for each patient. "It is important that
the protein comes from the patient’s own tumor because each tumor is
different as far as this antigen is concerned," Dr. Parmiani said.