An arginase1- and PD-L1-derived peptide-based vaccine for myeloproliferative neoplasms: A first-in-man clinical trial

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Introduction: Arginase-1 (ARG1) and Programed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) play a vital role in immunosuppression in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and directly inhibit T-cell activation and proliferation. We previously identified spontaneous T-cell responses towards PD-L1 and ARG1 derived peptide epitopes in patients with MPNs. In the present First-in-Man study we tested dual vaccinations of ARG1- derived and PD-L1-derived peptides, combined with Montanide ISA-51 as adjuvant, in patients with Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) V617F-mutated MPN. Methods: Safety and efficacy of vaccination with ARG1- derived and PD-L1-derived peptides with montanide as an adjuvant was tested in 9 patients with MPN The primary end point was safety and toxicity evaluation. The secondary end point was assessment of the immune response to the vaccination epitope ( identifier NCT04051307). Results: The study included 9 patients with JAK2-mutant MPN of which 8 received all 24 planned vaccines within a 9-month treatment period. Patients reported only grade 1 and 2 vaccine related adverse events. No alterations in peripheral blood counts were identified, and serial measurements of the JAK2V617F allelic burden showed that none of the patients achieved a molecular response during the treatment period. The vaccines induced strong immune responses against both ARG1 and PD-L1- derived epitopes in the peripheral blood of all patients, and vaccine-specific skin-infiltrating lymphocytes from 5/6 patients could be expanded in vitro after a delayed-type hypersensitivity test. In two patients we also detected both ARG1- and PD-L1-specific T cells in bone marrow samples at the end of trial. Intracellular cytokine staining revealed IFNγ and TNFγ producing CD4+- and CD8+- T cells specific against both vaccine epitopes. Throughout the study, the peripheral CD8/CD4 ratio increased significantly, and the CD8+ TEMRA subpopulation was enlarged. We also identified a significant decrease in PD-L1 mRNA expression in CD14+ myeloid cells in the peripheral blood in all treated patients and a decrease in ARG1 mRNA expression in bone marrow of 6 out of 7 evaluated patients. Conclusion: Overall, the ARG1- and PD-L1-derived vaccines were safe and tolerable and induced strong T-cell responses in all patients. These results warrant further studies of the vaccine in other settings or in combination with additional immune-activating treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1117466
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Grauslund, Holmström, Martinenaite, Lisle, Glöckner, El Fassi, Klausen, Mortensen, Jørgensen, Kjær, Skov, Svane, Hasselbalch and Andersen.

    Research areas

  • arginase-1, cancer immune therapy, immune modulatory vaccines, myeloproliferative neoplasms, PD-L1

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