Letter from the Editor
Dear 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