Immunological efficacy of glypican-3 peptide vaccine in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

Nobuhiro Tsuchiya, Toshiaki Yoshikawa, Norihiro Fujinami, Keigo Saito, Shoichi Mizuno, Yu Sawada, Itaru Endo, Tetsuya Nakatsura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


We have previously conducted a phase I trial to test the efficacy of a glypican-3 (GPC3) peptide vaccine in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, its immunological mechanism of action remains unclear. Here, we report a pilot study conducted to evaluate the immunological mechanisms of action of this GPC3 peptide vaccine (UMIN-CTR number 000005093). Eleven patients with advanced HCC were vaccinated with the GPC3 peptide in this trial. The primary end point was GPC3 peptide-specific immune response induced by the GPC3 peptide vaccination. The secondary endpoints were clinical and biologic outcomes. We demonstrated that the present vaccine induced GPC3 peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which were found to infiltrate into the tumor. Moreover, we established GPC3 peptide-specific CTL clones from a biopsy specimen: these cells exhibited GPC3 peptide-specific cytokine secretion and cell cytotoxicity. The plasma GPC3 level tended to decrease temporarily at least once during the follow-up period. The GPC3-specific CTL frequency after vaccination was correlated with overall survival. The degree of skin reactions at the injection site correlated with the GPC3 peptide-specific CTLs. Furthermore, we sequenced the T cell receptors (TCRs) of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) clones, and confirmed the existence of this TCR repertoire in both tumor tissue and PBMCs. In response to these data, we are developing TCR-engineered T cell therapy using TCR sequences obtained from GPC3 peptide-specific CTL clones for improved efficacy in patients with advanced HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1346764
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 3
Externally publishedYes


  • CTL
  • Glypican-3 (GPC3)
  • HCC
  • immunological efficacy
  • Peptide vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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