MUC1 is a glycoprotein expressed on the apical surface of ductal epithelial cells. Malignant transformation results in loss of polarization and overexpression of hypoglycosylated MUC1 carrying truncated carbohydrates known as T or Tn tumor antigens. Tumor MUC1 bearing Tn carbohydrates (Tn-MUC1) represent a potential target for immunotherapy. We evaluated the Tn-MUC1 glycopeptide in a human phase I/II clinical trial for safety that followed a preclinical study of different glycosylation forms of MUC1 in rhesus macaques, whose MUC1 is highly homologous to human MUC1. Either unglycosylated rhesus macaque MUC1 peptide (rmMUC1) or Tn-rmMUC1 glycopeptide were mixed with an adjuvant, or loaded on autologous dendritic cells (DCs), and responses compared. Unglycosylated rmMUC1 peptide induced negligible humoral or cellular responses compared to the Tn-rmMUC1 glycopeptide. Tn-rmMUC1 loaded on DCs induced the highest anti-rmMUC1 T-cell responses and no clinical toxicity. In the phase I/II clinical study, 17 patients with non-metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC) were tested with aTn-MUC1 glycopeptide-DC vaccine. Patients were treated with multiple intradermal and intranodal doses of autologous DCs, which were loaded with the Tn-MUC1 glycopeptide (and KLH as a positive control for immune reactivity). PSA doubling time (PSADT) improved significantly in 11 of 16 evaluable patients (P = 0.037). Immune response analyses detected significant Tn-MUC1-specific CD4+ and/or CD8+ T-cell intracellular cytokine responses in 5 out of 7 patients evaluated. In conclusion, vaccination with Tn-MUC1-loaded DCs in nmCRPC patients appears to be safe, able to induce significant T-cell responses, and have biological activity as measured by the increase in PSADT following vaccination.
Tn-MUC1 DC Vaccination of Rhesus Macaques and a Phase I/II Trial in Patients with Non-Metastatic Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer.