Vaccine Treatment for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Brief Title

Vaccine Treatment for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Official Title

A Phase I/II Study of Tergenpumatucel-L (HyperAcute Lung) an Antitumor Vaccination Using Alpha (1,3) Galactosyltransferase Expressing Allogeneic Tumor Cells in Patients With Refractory or Recurrent Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Brief Summary

      This 2-phase study will determine the safety of treating patients with non-small cell lung
      cancer with the genetically engineered HyperAcute-Lung cancer vaccine. It will establish the
      proper vaccine dose and will examine side effects and potential benefits of the treatment.
      The vaccine contains killed lung cancer cells containing a mouse gene that causes the
      production of a foreign pattern of protein-sugars on the cell surface. It is hoped that the
      immune response to the foreign substance will stimulate the immune system to attack the
      patient's own cancer cells that have similar proteins without this sugar pattern, causing the
      tumor to remain stable or shrink.

      Patients 18 years of age or older with non-small cell lung cancer that has recurred or no
      longer responds to standard treatment may be eligible for this study. Candidates will be
      screened with a medical history and physical examination, blood tests, urinalysis, chest
      x-rays, and lung function testing. CT, MRI, PET, and ultrasound scans of the chest may be
      obtained if needed.

      Participants will receive four vaccinations a month apart from each other. The vaccines will
      be injected under the skin, similar to the way a tuberculosis skin test is given. Phase I of
      the study will treat successive groups of patients with increasing numbers of the vaccine
      cells to evaluate side effects of the treatment and determine the optimum dose. Phase II will
      look for any beneficial effects of the vaccine given at the highest dose found to be safe in
      Phase I. Weekly blood samples will be drawn during the 4 months of vaccine treatment. In
      addition, patient follow-up visits will be scheduled every 2 months for the first year after
      vaccination and then every 3 months for the next 2 years for the following tests and
      procedures to evaluate treatment response and side effects:

        -  Medical history and physical examination

        -  Blood tests

        -  X-rays and various scans (nuclear medicine/CT/MRI)

        -  FACT-L Assessment questionnaire to measure the impact of treatment on the patient's
           general well-being. The questionnaire is administered before beginning treatment, before
           each vaccination, and during follow-up visits after completing the treatment. It
           includes questions on the severity of lung cancer symptoms and the ability to perform
           normal activities of daily life.

      In addition to the above procedures, 3 skin punch biopsies will be done at the vaccination
      site to look for a local immune response. For this procedure, an area of skin is numbed with
      an anesthetic and a 4 mm (about 1/4-inch) circular area is removed, using a sharp cookie
      cutter-type instrument. Also, one blood sample per year will be collected for the next 15
      years to monitor the safety of the gene transfer. Patients whose lung cancer spreads to the
      skin, superficial soft tissues, or a superficial lymph node may be asked to undergo a biopsy
      of the lesion to see what effect the treatment may be having on the tumor.

Detailed Description


        -  Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death with an estimated 174,400 new
           cases and 162,400 deaths each year in the U.S.

        -  Despite attempts at early diagnosis and the development of new therapeutic agents, there
           has been only limited improvement in the outcome for patients with advanced lung cancer.

        -  A enzyme called alpha(1,3)galactosyltranferase (alphaGT) that is not found in humans can
           transfer sugars on to proteins in human cells that can make them highly immunogenic and
           cause them to be rejected by the body.

        -  Antitumor vaccination using killed donor human lung cancer cells expressing alphaGT may
           stimulate immune responses in patients against their own lung cancer because their lung
           cancer may share antigens with the vaccine cells that have been made more immunogenic by
           expression of alphaGT.


      Phase I has been completed.

      Phase II

        -  To assess the tumor response rate of anti-tumor vaccination using irradiated allogeneic
           lung cancer cell lines genetically engineered to express the murine
           alpha(1,3)galactosyltransferase enzyme in patients with advanced, recurrent or
           refractory non-small cell lung cancer.

        -  To assess the immunological response of patients with lung cancer undergoing antitumor
           vaccination with irradiated allogeneic lung cancer cell lines genetically engineered to
           express murine alpha(1,3)galactosyltransferase.

        -  Assess the survival distribution as well as the duration of response.


        -  Non-small cell lung cancer (Adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, large cell
           anaplastic carcinoma and bronchoalveolar carcinoma).

        -  Stage IV, recurrent or treatment refractory disease.

        -  No exclusion for prior therapy. Prior therapy may include surgery, radiation,
           immunotherapy, and chemotherapy regimens. EGFR inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies are
           included as chemotherapy.

        -  Patients must have a granulocyte count of greater than or equal to 1000/microL,
           platelets greater than or equal to 100,000/microL, hemoglobin greater than 10.0 gm/dL,
           albumin greater than or equal to 3.0 gm/dL and acceptable hepatic and renal function.

        -  No systemic corticosteroids.

      Design (Phase II):

        -  Patients will be intradermally vaccinated with 300 million
           alpha(1,3)galactosyltranferase-expressing vaccine cells every 2-weeks to complete a
           total of eight vaccinations.

        -  Patients will be monitored for tumor and immunological responses and safety.

Study Phase

Phase 1/Phase 2

Study Type


Primary Outcome

Safety and response rate


Non-small Cell Carcinoma


Drug: Hyperacute Lung Cancer Cell Vaccine

Study Arms / Comparison Groups

Description:  Ph II Arm 1


* Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by National Clinical Trials Identifier (NCT ID) in Medline.

Recruitment Information

Recruitment Status


Estimated Enrollment


Start Date

November 2003

Completion Date

March 2013

Primary Completion Date

November 2012

Eligibility Criteria

        -  Phase II Eligibility Criteria

        Must be confirmed within 4-weeks of vaccination except for Beta-HCG (confirm within 1-week)
        when appropriate. Tumor measurements must be performed within 2-weeks of enrollment.


        Histological diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Squamous cell (epidermoid),
        adenocarcinoma, bronchoalveolar carcinoma and large cell anaplastic lung carcinoma
        histologies are eligible. Mixed histologies of NSCLC (i.e., adenosquamous) are eligible.
        Mixed NSCLC/small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), and variant large and small cell lung cancer
        are NOT eligible for this study.

        Patients being treated at the NCI must have their pathology reviewed and confirmed by the
        NCI Laboratory of Pathology. Patients being treated at MCG must have their pathology
        reviewed and confirmed by the MCG Pathology Department.

        Metastatic (AJCC Stage IV- any T, any N, M1), progressive, recurrent or refractory NSCLC.
        Patients may not be eligible for other curative intent treatment (e.g., surgical

        For the purpose of eligibility for this trial, the above-cited disease states are defined
        as follows:

        Progressive NSCLC- Defined as increasing measurable disease or the appearance of new
        measurable disease by RECIST criteria despite treatment.

        Recurrent NSCLC- Defined as the re-appearance of measurable disease or the appearance of
        new measurable disease by RECIST criteria after prior successful treatment or complete

        Refractory NSCLC- Defined as achieving less than a complete response and having residual
        measurable by RECIST criteria after prior treatment with chemotherapy, targeted or small
        molecules, monoclonal antibodies or any combination of these.

        Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status less than or equal to 2.

        Serum albumin greater than or equal to 3.0 gm/dL.

        Expected survival greater than or equal to 4 months.

        Adequate organ function including:

          -  Marrow: Hemoglobin greater than or equal to 10.0 gm/dL, absolute granulocyte count
             (AGC) greater than or equal to 1,000/mm(3) platelets greater than or equal to
             100,000/mm(3), absolute lymphocyte count greater than or equal to 475/mm(3).

          -  Hepatic: Serum total bilirubin less than or equal to 1.5 times the upper limit of
             normal (ULN) with the exception of less than 2.9 mg/dL for patients with Gilbert's
             disease, ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT) less than or equal to 2.5 times the ULN.

          -  Renal: Serum creatinine (sCr) less than or equal to 1.5 times the upper limit of
             normal, or creatinine clearance (Ccr) greater than or equal to 50 mL/min.

        All On-Study Tests must be less than or equal to CTC Grade I toxicity for patients to be
        eligible for study, excluding serum LDH levels. PT, PTT must be less than or equal to 1.5
        times ULN except for patients who are on therapeutic anticoagulant therapy.

        Measurable disease as defined by RECIST Criteria.

        Subjects must have negative serologies for hepatitis viruses B and C, and HIV prior to
        entering study.

        Prior therapy for NSCLC that may include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and/or
        prior chemotherapy regimens (including neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment). There are no
        restrictions to the number of prior therapies subjects have received.

        Treatment with a single course of gefitinib or (Iressa), or erlotinib (Tarceva), or other
        small molecule or targeted therapies, or monoclonal antibody therapy will be considered and
        count as prior chemotherapy.

        Patients that refuse chemotherapy are eligible.

        Patients must be greater than or equal to 4 weeks since major surgery, radiotherapy,
        chemotherapy (6-weeks if they were treated with a nitrosourea or mitomycin) or
        biotherapy/targeted therapies and recovered from the toxicity of prior treatment to less
        than or equal to CTC grade 1, exclusive of alopecia or fatigue.

        Patients must have the ability to understand the study, its risks, side effects, potential
        benefits and be able to give written informed consent to participate. Patients may NOT be
        consented by a durable power of attorney (DPA).

        Male and female subjects of child producing potential must agree to use contraception or
        avoidance of pregnancy measures while enrolled on study and receiving the experimental
        drug, and for one month after the last immunization.

        Patients should have sites of NSCLC that are accessible to needle, punch or other limited
        biopsy, be at low risk for biopsy and be willing to undergo tumor core needle biopsy, punch
        or other similar biopsy pre-vaccination and again post-vaccination. Such sites may include
        skin and soft tissue metastases, adrenal gland metastases, peripheral lymph nodes
        (supraclavicular, axillary, or inquinal), a pulmonary lesion at low risk for complications
        defined as lesions greater than 1.5 cm surrounded by aerated lung, pleural based masses
        greater than 1.5 cm and lesions not associated with a major pulmonary vessel, or other
        disease sites that may undergo biopsy with minimal discomfort and risk to the patient.
        These biopsies are optional.


        Age less than 18-years-old.

        Active CNS metastases or carcinomatous meningitis.

        Hypercalcemia greater than 2.9 mmol/L, unresponsive to standard therapy (e.g., I.V.
        hydration, diuretics, calctonin and/or bisphosphate therapy).

        Pregnant or nursing women due to the unknown effects of vaccination on the developing fetus
        or newborn infant.

        Other malignancy within five years, unless the probability of recurrence of the prior
        malignancy is less than 5%. Patient's curatively treated for squamous cell carcinoma and
        basal cell carcinoma of the skin and carcinoma in situ of the uterine cervix (CIN) or
        patients with a history of malignant tumor in the past that have been disease free for at
        least five years are also eligible for this study.

        History of organ transplant, or current active immunosuppressive therapy (such as
        cyclosporine, tacrolimus, etc.).

        Subjects taking systemic corticosteroid therapy for any reason including replacement
        therapy for hypoadrenalism, are not eligible. Subjects receiving inhaled or topical
        corticosteroids are eligible. Subjects who require systemic corticosteroids after beginning
        vaccinations, will be removed from the study.

        Significant or uncontrolled congestive heart failure (CHF), myocardial infarction,
        significant ventricular arrhythmias within the last six months or significant pulmonary

        Active infection or antibiotics within 1-week prior to study, including unexplained fever
        (Temp. greater than 38.1 degrees C).

        Autoimmune disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosis, active rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
        with the exception of vitiligo. Patients with a remote history of asthma or mild active
        asthma are eligible.

        Other serious medical conditions that may be expected to limit life expectancy to less than
        2-years (e.g., liver cirrhosis).

        Any condition, psychiatric or otherwise, that would preclude informed consent, consistent
        follow-up or compliance with any aspect of the study (e.g., untreated schizophrenia or
        other significant cognitive impairment, etc).

        A known allergy to any component of the alpha(1,3)galactosyltransferase tumor vaccine or
        cell lines from which it is derived.

        Patients having undergone splenectomy or prior vaccine therapy for their NSCLC.




21 Years - 65 Years

Accepts Healthy Volunteers



Arun Rajan, M.D., , 

Location Countries

United States

Location Countries

United States

Administrative Informations



Organization ID


Secondary IDs


Responsible Party


Study Sponsor

NewLink Genetics Corporation


 National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Study Sponsor

Arun Rajan, M.D., Principal Investigator, National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Verification Date

May 2020