by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  January 4, 2017 at 4:09 PM Health Watch
  • Breast cancer is one of the common cause of cancer death in women.
  • Dendritic cell vaccine found to show promising results for early-stage breast cancer patients.
  • The new vaccine is safe and effective in stimulating the immune system to target HER2 protein during cancer progression.

A new dendritic cell vaccine that targets the HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) protein present in the breast cancer cells may be safe and effective in stimulating the immune system leading to the regression of early-stage breast cancer, finds a research study from the Moffitt Cancer Center Report.

About 20-25% of breast cancer tumors are overexpressed and associated with poor prognosis.
Novel Dendritic Cell Vaccine Shows Promising Result for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

The research team has previously shown that immune cells were not able to recognize and target cancerous cells that express HER2 when breast cancer progresses into a more advanced stage.

This may help to provide new strategies that involve the restimulation of the immune system to recognize and target HER2 early during cancer progression.

The research team developed a vaccine from dendritic cells which is harvested from the patient. This vaccine was found to recognize the HER2 protein on the breast cancer cells.

Clinical Trials
The clinical trial was conducted with 54 women having HER-2 expressing early-stage breast cancer. The vaccine was developed by isolating dendritic cells from the patient's blood and exposing them to fragments of the HER2 protein.

The vaccine was injected into the breast tumor, lymph node or to both the sites of the patient once a week for every six weeks.

Dendritic Cell Vaccines
Dendritic cells are Antigen-Presenting Cells (APC) that play a major role in the immune system. They are a new and potent form of immune therapy which is used to treat cancer.

Dendritic cell vaccines are well-tolerated and patients may experience low grade toxicities.

Adverse Effects of Dendritic Cell Vaccines
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Reactions at the injection site.
The research team found the vaccine to stimulate the immune response in most of the patients(80%).

Efficacy of the Vaccine
The effectiveness was assessed by determining the percentage of patients who had breast cancer within surgical specimens after resection.

Around 13 patients were reported pCR (pathological complete response) which means the absence of the disease.

Patients with early non-invasive disease called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) had a higher rate of pCR when compared to patients who had early-stage invasive disease.

And patients who achieved a pCR were found to have a higher immune response within their local sentinel lymph nodes (first node that drains cancer).

Brian J. Czerniecki, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Breast Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center, said,"These results suggest that vaccines are more effective in DCIS, thereby warranting further evaluation in DCIS or other minimal disease settings, and the local regional sentinel lymph node may serve as a more meaningful immunologic endpoint."

Facts On Breast Cancer
  • Breast cancer is a disease in which the cancer cells are formed in the breast tissue.
  • It is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
  • Around one in eight women in America are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Aging is one of the significant risk factor for breast cancer.
  1. L. Lowenfeld, R. Mick, J. Datta, S. Xu, E. Fitzpatrick, C. S. Fisher, K. R. Fox, A. DeMichele, P. Zhang, S. Weinstein, R. E. Roses, B. J. Czerniecki. Dendritic Cell Vaccination Enhances Immune Responses and Induces Regression of HER2pos DCIS Independent of Route: Results of Randomized Selection Design Trial. Clinical Cancer Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-1924
  2. 11 Facts About Breast Cancer - (
  3. Breast Cancer Facts - (

Source: Medindia

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