American Association for Cancer Research
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FIGURE 3 from Immunologic Signatures of Peripheral Blood T Cells Reveal the Outcome of p53MVA Vaccine and Pembrolizumab Treatment in Patients with Advanced Ovarian Cancer

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posted on 2023-12-20, 14:20 authored by Ferdynand J. Kos, Paul Frankel, Mihaela Cristea, Melissa Eng, Raechelle Tinsley, Shannon Dempsey, Nora Ruel, Daphne Stewart, Thanh H. Dellinger, Don J. Diamond

Immune function pathway scores in 2 R (A and B) and 2 NR (C and D) patients are plotted to show how they vary across time during p53MVA/pembolizumab treatment. Lines show each pathway's score of its weighted mRNA expression levels data derived from the NanoString nCounter PanCancer Immune Profiling Panel analysis. Fluctuating changes in T cell and associated immune function categories are observed in 2 R but not in 2 NR patients.


Markel/Friedman Accelerator Fund

Merck (Merck & Co.)

HHS | NIH | National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Title Foundation



Our previous studies indicated that p53-reactive T cells were associated with clinical benefit in patients with advanced ovarian cancer who were treated with p53-expressing modified vaccinia Ankara (p53MVA) vaccine and gemcitabine chemotherapy. To replace chemotherapy with an approach that will enhance vaccine efficacy and antitumor immunity, we treated patients with p53MVA in combination with PD-1 checkpoint blocker, pembrolizumab. We also attempted to further characterize the activation status of T cells prior to vaccination and during treatment. Patients received up to three triweekly vaccinations concurrent with pembrolizumab, followed by pembrolizumab monotherapy at 3-week intervals. Correlative studies analyzed peripheral blood T-cell phenotypes and profiles of immune function gene expression. We observed 6/28 (21%) patients with a clinical benefit to therapy, including 3 partial responses (PR) and 3 patients with stable disease (SD) for 6+ months. The median progression-free survival was 1.8 months (95% confidence interval: 1.7–3.8) and median overall survival was 15.1 months (9.4–30.4). Two patients remain progression-free at 28 and 33 months. Of the 18 patients evaluable in correlative studies, 6 were immunologic responders of whom 5 had clinical benefit (3 PR, 2 SD). Immunologic non-responders expressed in pretreatment peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples high levels of mRNA for multiple molecules associated with terminally differentiated T cells. p53MVA/pembrolizumab immunotherapy showed promising antitumor activity in patients who demonstrated functionally competent peripheral blood T cells. Detection of markers of terminally differentiated T cells before treatment may identify patients unlikely to respond to p53MVA/pembrolizumab. The activity of a combination immunotherapy of p53 vaccine and PD-1 checkpoint blockade in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer was evaluated in a phase II trial. Clinical benefit was correlated with the responsive immune status of patients before and during the treatment, defining potential predictive markers for immune therapy.