Flu Vaccine Safe for Sunitinib, Sorafenib Treated Patients

Seroprotective rate for cancer patients treated with sunitinib or sorafenib similar to controls

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patients undergoing chemotherapy with sunitinib or sorafenib develop seroprotection rates similar to healthy controls following vaccination against influenza, according to a study published online June 28 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Sasja F. Mulder, M.D., from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues investigated the immune response to seasonal flu vaccination in cancer patients undergoing treatment with sunitinib or sorafenib. A total of 40 individuals, consisting of 16 treated with sunitinib, six with sorafenib, seven controls with metastatic renal cell cancer without systemic treatment, and 11 healthy controls, were enrolled and vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine. Antibody response was assessed at baseline, day eight, and day 22, and T-cell function assessed at baseline and day eight.

The investigators found that patients treated with sunitinib and sorafenib developed seroprotection rates that were comparable to those of controls. Functional T-cell reactivity was observed in all groups, with the exception of the sorafenib group, which exhibited a reduced proliferation rate and interferon-γ/interleukin (IL)-2 production and elevated IL-10 compared to healthy controls.

"A single shot of influenza vaccine is safe and effective in mounting a protective antibody response in patients treated with sunitinib or sorafenib and comparable with that in healthy controls. Therefore, standard influenza vaccination can be recommended for these patients," the authors write.

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