Poxviral Vaccine Benefits Some With Ovarian, Breast Cancer

Some patients with limited tumor burden, minimal chemo exposure benefit from monthly vaccine

TUESDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Use of the recombinant poxviral vaccine (PANVAC) may be beneficial for some patients with metastatic breast and ovarian cancers with limited tumor burden and minimal exposure to chemotherapy, according to a study published online Nov. 8 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Mahsa Mohebtash, M.D., from the Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues assessed the clinical response of women with metastatic breast and ovarian cancers who received PANVAC. The women, 12 of whom had breast cancer, and 14 ovarian cancer, were given monthly vaccinations, and the clinical and immune outcomes were assessed. Of the participants, 21 had received three or more previous chemotherapy regimens.

The investigators found that side effects were mainly limited to mild reactions at the injection site. The median time to progression and median overall survival were 2.5 and 13.7 months, respectively, for the women with breast cancer. Four of these women had stable disease. One patient had a complete response based on the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors; she remained on study for 37 months, and by day 71, a significant decrease in serum interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 was noted. Another patient, who had metastatic disease confined to the mediastinum, was on study for 10 months and experienced a 17 percent reduction in mediastinal mass. Compared to patients with no evidence of response, those with stable or responding disease had fewer prior therapies and lower tumor marker levels. The median time to progression and median overall survival were two and 15 months, respectively, in the patients with ovarian cancer.

"Some patients who had limited tumor burden with minimal prior chemotherapy seemed to benefit from the vaccine," the authors write.

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