The TLR7/8 agonist, Resiquimod has been used as an immune adjuvant in cancer vaccines. We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the cancer testis antigen NY-ESO-1 given in combination with Montanide with or without Resiquimod in high risk melanoma patients. In Part I of the study, patients received 100ug full length NY-ESO-1 protein emulsified in 1.25mL Montanide (day 1) followed by topical application of 1000mg of 0.2% Resiquimod gel on days 1 and 3 (Cohort 1) versus days 1, 3, and 5 (Cohort 2) of a 21 day cycle. In Part II, patients were randomized to receive 100ug NY-ESO-1 protein plus Montanide (day 1) followed by topical application of placebo gel (Arm-A; N=8) or 1000mg of 0.2% Resiquimod gel (Arm-B; N=12) using the dosing regimen established in Part I. The vaccine regimens were generally well-tolerated. NY-ESO-1 specific humoral responses were induced or boosted in all patients, many with high titers. In Part II, 16 of 20 patients in both arms had NY-ESO-1-specific CD4+ T cell responses. CD8+ T cell responses were only seen in 3 of 12 patients in Arm B. Patients with TLR7 SNP rs179008 had a greater likelihood of developing NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ responses. In conclusion, NY-ESO-1 protein in combination with Montanide with or without topical Resiquimod is safe and induces both antibody and CD4+ cell responses in the majority of patients; the small proportion of CD8+ cell responses suggests that the addition of topical Resiquimod to Montanide is not sufficient to induce consistent NY-ESO-1 specific CD8+ cell responses.
- Received October 28, 2014.
- Revision received December 12, 2014.
- Accepted December 16, 2014.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.