JITC Digest April 2018


Inside this Issue:

Letter from the Editor

pedro-romero_1__1_.jpgDear JITC Readers:

2018 has been a very busy and productive year for the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC). Compared to this time in 2017, JITC has received a record-breaking 75-percent increase in submissions. Furthermore, in February and March alone, our submission numbers were doubled compared to Feb./March 2017. These outstanding numbers reflect the groundbreaking scientific contributions our authors provide, as well as the increased interest in cancer immunotherapy. We at JITC are proud to host your impactful manuscripts, are grateful that you trust us to handle your data responsibly, and will continue to work diligently to ensure that we are a leading journal in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Featured in this month’s Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy section, Ellen Wargoski et al. in “Prime-boost vaccination targeting prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) using Sipuleucel-T and a DNA vaccine” determined that a DNA-based PAP booster schedule augmented immunity in patients with mCPRC immunized with Sipuleucel-T. At median follow-up (24 mos.), all patients who received the PAP booster had a detectable and elevated antibody response to PAP compared to patients who received Sipuleucel-T alone. These data suggest that prime-boost vaccinations can alter immunity elicited by anti-tumor vaccines, and offer an intriguing strategy to enhance vaccine-treatment efficacy.

Also highlighted this month is a review from Isaac Chan et al. titled “Immunotherapy for Merkel cell carcinoma: a turning point in patient care,” which discusses how immune checkpoint inhibition has become the standard-of-care for patients with metastatic or unresectable Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). While rare, patients with MCC have historically had low five-year survival rates due to the lack of effective treatment options. MCC is highly immunogenic, with nearly 50% of tumors expressing PD-L1, and 80% presenting antigens from oncogenic Merkel cell polyomavirus. As such, the advent of immune-checkpoint inhibitors - including pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and FDA approved avelumab - have greatly increased survival rates for patients with advanced MCC. Importantly, no differences in safety exist between patients with MCC being treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies compared to patients with other malignancies. The authors also highlight future potential treatment options for patients with MCC, including other immune checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell based therapies, and anti-tumor vaccinations.

With best regards,

Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

Recent Articles

Prime-boost vaccination targeting prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) using Sipuleucel-T and a DNA vaccine

Ellen Wargowski, Laura E. Johnson, Jens C. Eickhoff, Lauren Delmastro, Mary Jane Staab, Glenn Liu and Douglas G. McNeel
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:21 (13 March 2018)
Research Article
From the Authors
"This trial evaluated two vaccines in a prime-boost approach, the FDA approved sipuleucel-T and an investigational DNA vaccine, each targeting prostatic acid phosphatase, for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer."
Douglas G. McNeel, MD, PhD — University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

Severe immune mucositis and esophagitis in metastatic squamous carcinoma of the larynx associated with pembrolizumab

Fanny Zulay Acero Brand, Nicolas Suter, Jean-Philippe Adam, Bernard Faulques, Antonio Maietta, Denis Soulières and Normand Blais
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:22 (16 March 2018)
Case Report
Pembrolizumab is an anti–programmed death 1 (PD-1) receptor monoclonal antibody that has shown activity as second line treatment for metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Immune-related adverse events are now well described complications of PD-1 inhibitors, and this article discusses specific cases in a patient with HNSCC.

Immunotherapy for Merkel cell carcinoma: a turning point in patient care

Isaac S. Chan, Shailender Bhatia, Howard L. Kaufman and Evan J. Lipson
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:23 (23 March 2018)
Research Article
From the Authors
"Immune checkpoint inhibitors have changed the treatment landscape for patients with advanced Merkel Cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare but deadly skin cancer. In this review article, the authors discuss the rationale for the use of these agents, summarize recent clinical trial data, and explore emerging immunotherapeutic options for patients with MCC."
Evan J. Lipson, MD — Johns Hopkins University

Pseudoprogression manifesting as recurrent ascites with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in urothelial bladder cancer

Randy F. Sweis, Yuanyuan Zha, Lomax Pass, Brian Heiss, Tara Chongsuwat, Jason J. Luke, Thomas F. Gajewski and Russell Szmulewitz
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:24 (4 April 2018)
Case Report
From the Authors
"Pseudoprogression has typically been described when immune infiltration of tumors gives the radiographic appearance of tumor progression. In this report, we highlight a case where a metastatic urothelial cancer patient treated with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy developed recurrent ascites, which gave the clinical appearance of tumor progression. Fluid analysis revealed that the ascites was due to a massive influx of activated T lymphocytes, which was associated with a concurrent clinical partial response and regression in size of peritoneal nodules."
Randy F. Sweis, MD — University of Chicago

Efficacy of PD-1 & PD-L1 inhibitors in older adults: a meta-analysis

Rawad Elias, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Nadine Jackson McCleary, Patrick Ott, F. Stephen Hodi and Osama Rahma
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:26 (4 April 2018)
Research Article
Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway have demonstrated significant promise in treating a variety of malignancies. Little is known, however, about their efficacy in treating older adults, and the discussed meta-analysis was conducted to relieve this knowledge gap.

Coordinated responses to individual tumor antigens by IgG antibody and CD8+ T cells following cancer vaccination

Tyler W. Hulett, Shawn M. Jensen, Phillip A. Wilmarth, Ashok P. Reddy, Carmen Ballesteros-Merino, Michael E. Afentoulis, Christopher Dubay, Larry L. David and Bernard A. Fox
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:27 (5 April 2018)
Research Article
From the Authors
"I think this work is provocative and controversial for two findings: (1) it identifies a correlation between vaccine-induced IgG Ab response and CD8 T cell responses to epitopes of the same protein/peptide; and (2) it provides a method to identify tumor-reactive CD8 T cell responses against non-mutated WT epitopes as well as neoantigens. While these findings have important ramifications for monitoring and optimizing a patient’s response to immunotherapy, the ability to identify immune responses to non-mutated self-peptides releases the focus of antigen discovery from that of mutated neoantigenic epitopes to the spectrum of aberrantly expressed and overexpressed protein epitopes that are common among the majority of cancers."
Bernard A. Fox, PhD — Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Robert W. Franz Cancer Center

Complete intracranial response to talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec), pembrolizumab and whole brain radiotherapy in a patient with melanoma brain metastases refractory to dual checkpoint-inhibition

Zoë Blake, Douglas K. Marks, Robyn D. Gartrell, Thomas Hart, Patti Horton, Simon K. Cheng, Bret Taback, Basil A. Horst and Yvonne M. Saenger
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 6:25 (6 April 2018)
Case Report
From the Authors
"We document a complete intra-cranial response to whole brain XRT, pembrolizumab and talimogene laherparepvec after progression on stereotactic radiosurgery combined with ipilimumab and nivolumab. This shows that significant benefit can be achieved in patients who have previously progressed on combination checkpoint blockade by using alternate immunotherapy combinations."
Yvonne Saenger, MD — Columbia University Medical Center

Highly Accessed Articles


Distinct predictive biomarker candidates for response to anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in melanoma patients

Priyanka B. Subrahmanyam, Zhiwan Dong, Daniel Gusenleitner, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Mariano Severgnini, Jun Zhou, Michael Manos, Lauren M. Eastman, Holden T. Maecker and F. Stephen Hodi
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer 2018, 6:18 (6 March 2018)

Radiation and PD-(L)1 treatment combinations: immune response and dose optimization via a predictive systems model

Yuri Kosinsky, Simon J. Dovedi, Kirill Peskov, Veronika Voronova, Lulu Chu, Helen Tomkinson, Nidal Al-Huniti, Donald R. Stanski and Gabriel Helmlinger
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer 2018, 6:17 (27 February 2018)

Measuring multiple parameters of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in human cancers by image analysis

Keith E. Steele, Tze Heng Tan, René Korn, Karma Dacosta, Charles Brown, Michael Kuziora, Johannes Zimmermann, Brian Laffin, Moritz Widmaier, Lorenz Rognoni, Ruben Cardenes, Katrin Schneider, Anmarie Boutrin, Philip Martin, Jiping Zha and Tobias Wiestler
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer 2018, 6:20 (6 March 2018)

Submit Your Research to JITC

SITC members and non-members are invited to submit manuscripts to the society's official journal.

Article Types

JITC Editor-in-Chief
Pedro J. Romero, MD – University of Lausanne

Section Editors

  • Basic Tumor Immunology: Cornelis J.M. Melief, MD, PhD – ISA Therapeutics BV
  • Case Reports: Alfred Zippelius, MD – University Hospital Basel
  • Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunology: James L. Gulley, MD, PhD, FACPNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • Clinical Trials Monitor: Leisha Emens, MD, PhD – Johns Hopkins University
  • Commentary/Editorials: Christian Capitini, MD – University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Guidelines and Consensus Statements: Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD – University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
  • Immunotherapy Biomarkers: Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD – University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
  • Reviews: Sandra Demaria, MD – Weill Cornell Medical College; Thomas F. Gajewski, MD, PhD – University of Chicago

To view the full editorial board, please click here.

SITC Members Receive Complimentary Article Processing Charges in 2018
As a thank you to our members, SITC is offering complimentary article processing charges throughout 2018 (a $2,500 USD savings). To take advantage of this benefit, authors must contact JITC Managing Editor Andrea Rindo at JITCEditor@sitcancer.org or 1-414-271-2456 prior to submission to obtain a discount code and instructions.
Become a Member!
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) is the official, online, open access journal of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and considered BMC’s premier cancer immunotherapy journal. JITC welcomes basic, translational and clinical research and literature reviews on any aspect of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Topics of interest include tumor-host interactions, immune biomarkers, novel therapeutics, and immune-related toxicity.  The journal’s full collection, including its seminal guidelines and consensus statements, advances the rapidly evolving field of cancer immunotherapy through dissemination of rigorous peer-reviewed research.