Research Papers: Immunology:

Autologous tumor cells/bacillus Calmette-Guérin/formalin-based novel breast cancer vaccine induces an immune antitumor response

María José Godoy-Calderón _, Víctor Salazar, Eglys González-Marcano and Ana Federica Convit

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:20222-20238. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25044

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María José Godoy-Calderón1,2, Víctor Salazar3, Eglys González-Marcano1,2 and Ana Federica Convit1,2

1Unidad Experimental de Inmunoterapia, Fundación Jacinto Convit, Caracas, Venezuela

2Jacinto Convit World Organization, Inc., Palo Alto, California, United States of America

3Servicio de Microscopía de Luz, Centro de Biofísica y Bioquímica, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas-IVIC, Caracas, Venezuela

Correspondence to:

María José Godoy-Calderón, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer immunotherapy; breast cancer; autologous tumor cells vaccine; BCG; formalin; Immunology

Received: September 21, 2017     Accepted: March 22, 2018     Published: April 17, 2018


Autologous cancer cell vaccines represent a multivalent patient-specific treatment. Studies have demonstrated that these immunotherapies should be combined with immunomodulators to improve results. We tested in breast cancer the antitumor effects of a 200 μg autologous tumor cells homogenate combined with 0.0625 mg of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and 0.02% formalin. We used a 4T1 murine model of BALB/c receiving four weekly injections of either this vaccine or control treatments. The control treatments were either Phosphate Buffer Saline, BCG treated with formalin, or the tumor cells homogenate plus BCG alone. We found that mice treated with the vaccine had the lowest tumor growth rate and mitosis percentage. The vaccinated group also showed a marked increase in infiltration of antitumor cells (natural killer, CD8+ T and CD4+ Th1 cells), as well as a decrease of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Additionally, we also observed a possible activation of the immune memory response as indicated by plasma cell tumor infiltration. Our results demonstrate that our proposed breast cancer vaccine induces a potent antitumor effect in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. Its effectiveness, low cost and simple preparation method, makes it a promising treatment candidate for personalized breast cancer immunotherapy.

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