K562/GM-CSF immunotherapy reduces tumor burden in chronic myeloid leukemia patients with residual disease on imatinib mesylate

B. D. Smith, Yvette L. Kasamon, Jeanne Kowalski, Christopher Gocke, Kathleen Murphy, Carole B. Miller, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, Hua Ling Tsai, Lu Qin, Christina Chia, Barbara Biedrzycki, Thomas C. Harding, Guang Haun Tu, Richard Jones, Kristen Hege, Hyam I. Levitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can be responsive to T-cell-mediated immunity. K562/granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a GM-CSF producing vaccine derived from a CML cell line that expresses several CML-associated antigens. A pilot study was developed to determine if K562/GM-CSF immunotherapy could improve clinical responses to imatinib mesylate (IM) in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. Experimental Design: Patients with chronic phase CML who achieved at least a major cytogeneic response but remained with persistent, measurable disease despite one or more years on imatinib mesylate were eligible. Each was given a series of four vaccines administered in three-week intervals, with or without topical imiquimod, while remaining on a stable dose of imatinib mesylate. CML disease burden was measured serially before and after vaccination. Results: Nineteen patients were vaccinated, with a median duration of previous imatinib mesylate therapy of 37 (13-53) months. Mean PCR measurements of BCR-ABL for the group declined significantly following the vaccines (P = 0.03). Thirteen patients had a progressive decline in disease burden, 8 of whom had increasing disease burden before vaccination. Twelve patients achieved their lowest tumor burden measurements to date following vaccine, including seven subjects who became PCR-undetectable. Conclusions: K562/GM-CSF vaccine appears to improve molecular responses in patients on imatinib mesylate, including achieving complete molecular remissions, despite long durations of previous imatinib mesylate therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-347
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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