Phase II randomized trial of autologous formalin-fixed tumor vaccine for postsurgical recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma.
PURPOSE: We conducted a Phase II clinical trial with randomized patients to determine whether autologous formalin-fixed tumor vaccine (AFTV) protects against postsurgical recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Forty-one patients with HCC who had undergone curative resection were randomly allocated to the vaccine treatment (n = 19) or no adjuvant control group (n = 22). Three intradermal vaccinations were administered at 2-week intervals beginning 4-6 weeks after hepatic resection. A delayed-type hypersensitivity test was performed before and after vaccination. Primary and secondary end points are recurrence-free survival and overall survival, respectively. Observation continued until the majority of surviving patients had lived >12 months after the curative resection. RESULTS: In a median follow-up of 15 months, the risk of recurrence in vaccinated patients was reduced by 81% (95% confidence interval, 33-95%; P = 0.003). Vaccination significantly prolonged the time to first recurrence (P = 0.003) and improved recurrence-free survival (P = 0.003) and overall survival rates (P = 0.01). AFTV played a significant role in preventing recurrence in patients with small tumors. Adverse effects were limited to grade 1 or 2 skin toxicities such as erythema, dry desquamation, and pruritus. CONCLUSIONS: AFTV therapy is a safe, feasible, and effective treatment for preventing postoperational recurrence of HCC. Patients with low tumor burdens benefit from the treatment. This treatment should be advanced to a large-scale randomized trial.
Kuang, M; Peng, BG; Lu, MD; Liang, LJ; Huang, JF; He, Q; Hua, YP; Totsuka, S; Liu, SQ; Leong, KW; Ohno, T
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