Gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells during treatment with a gene-modified allogeneic tumor cell vaccine in advanced renal cell cancer: tumor-induced immunosuppression and a possible role for NF-κB


  • A. Flörcken
  • M. Grau
  • A. Wolf
  • A. Weilemann
  • J. Kopp
  • B. Dörken
  • T. Blankenstein
  • A. Pezzutto
  • P. Lenz
  • G. Lenz
  • J. Westermann


  • International Journal of Cancer


  • Int J Cancer 136 (8): 1814-1826


  • Tumor-induced immunosuppression remains a major challenge for immunotherapy of cancer patients. To further elucidate why an allogeneic gene-modified (Interleukin-7(IL-7)/CD80- co-transfected) renal cell cancer vaccine failed to induce clinically relevant TH-1-polarized immune responses, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from enrolled study patients were analyzed by gene expression profiling (GEP) both prior and after vaccination. At baseline before vaccination, a profound downregulation of gene signatures associated with antigen presentation, immune response/T cells, cytokines/chemokines, and signaling/transcription factors was observed in renal cell cancer patients as compared to healthy controls. Vaccination led to a partial reversion of preexisting immunosuppression, however, GEP indicated that an appropriate TH-1 polarization could not be achieved. Most interestingly, our results suggest that the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-{kappa}B) signaling pathway might be involved in the impairment of immunological responsiveness and the observed TH-2 deviation. In summary, our data suggest that GEP might be a powerful tool for the prediction of immunosuppression and the monitoring of immune responses within immunotherapy trials.