Purpose: The graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) reaction is an important example of immune-mediated tumor destruction. A coordinated humoral and cellular response accomplishes leukemia cell killing, but the specific targets remain largely uncharacterized. To learn more about the antigens that elicit antibodies during GVL reactions, we analyzed patients with advanced myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) who received an autologous, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)–secreting tumor cell vaccine early after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Experimental Design: A combination of tumor-derived cDNA expression library screening, protein microarrays, and antigen-specific ELISAs were used to characterize sera obtained longitudinally from 15 patients with AML/MDS who were vaccinated early after allogeneic HSCT.
Results: A broad, therapy-induced antibody response was uncovered, which primarily targeted intracellular proteins that function in growth, transcription/translation, metabolism, and homeostasis. Unexpectedly, antibodies were also elicited against eight secreted angiogenic cytokines that play critical roles in leukemogenesis. Antibodies to the angiogenic cytokines were evident early after therapy, and in some patients manifested a diversification in reactivity over time. Patients that developed antibodies to multiple angiogenic cytokines showed prolonged remission and survival.
Conclusions: These results reveal a potent humoral response during GVL reactions induced with vaccination early after allogeneic HSCT and raise the possibility that antibodies, in conjunction with natural killer cells and T lymphocytes, may contribute to immune-mediated control of myeloid leukemias. Clin Cancer Res; 1–9. ©2014 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 30, 2014.
- Revision received November 10, 2014.
- Accepted December 4, 2014.
- ©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.