Peptide vaccination against multiple myeloma using peptides derived from anti-apoptotic proteins: a phase I trial

Nicolai Grønne Jørgensen, Shamaila Munir Ahmad, Niels Abildgaard, Per Thor Straten, Inge Marie Svane, Mads Hald Andersen, Lene Meldgaard Knudsen


The B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family of proteins play a crucial role in multiple myeloma (MM), contributing to lacking apoptosis which is a hallmark of the disease. This makes the Bcl-2 proteins interesting targets for therapeutic peptide vaccination. We report a phase I trial of therapeutic vaccination with peptides from the proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 in patients with relapsed MM. Vaccines were given concomitant with bortezomib. Out of 7 enrolled patients, 4 received the full course of 8 vaccinations. The remaining 3 patients received fewer vaccinations due to progression, clinical decision of lacking effect and development of hypercalcemia, respectively. There were no signs of toxicity other than what was to be expected from bortezomib. Immune responses to the peptides were seen in all 6 patients receiving more than 2 vaccinations. Three patients had increased immune responses after vaccination. Vaccination against Bcl-2 was well tolerated and was able to induce immune responses in patients with relapsed MM.