Conference Coverage

Cancer vaccine fails in CRC but trial yields lessons



The cancer vaccine tecemotide (L-BLP25) does not improve outcomes when given after resection of isolated liver metastases of colorectal cancer, according to final results of the German and Austrian phase 2 randomized LICC trial. However, information gleaned from the results, which were reported at the 2019 GI Cancers Symposium, will help inform future research.

Dr. Carl C. Schimanski of Klinikum Darmstadt, Germany

Dr. Carl C. Schimanski

“Hepatic metastectomy … is deemed the only potential curative treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer with limited liver disease. However, high recurrence rates after resection remain a major challenge: They range up to 50%-75% within the first 2 years,” said lead investigator Carl C. Schimanski, MD, PhD, of the Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH in Darmstadt, Germany.

Tecemotide is a liposome carrying mucin 1 (MUC1) antigen and an adjuvant that is taken up by antigen-presenting cells, ultimately leading to production of MUC1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes that target tumors. “MUC1 has been described to be expressed in up to 100% of colorectal cancer metastasis, so we thought this might be a good target,” Dr. Schimanski explained.

All 121 patients in the LICC trial had recently undergone primary or secondary resection, with either R0 or R1 outcome, for liver-only metastases of colorectal cancer. They were treated on a double-blind basis with a single dose of cyclophosphamide to reduce regulatory T cells, followed by tecemotide (weekly for 8 weeks, then every 6 weeks for up to 2 years) or with placebo.


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