Survivin (BIRC5) Peptide Vaccine in the 4T1 Murine Mammary Tumor Model: A Potential Neoadjuvant T Cell Immunotherapy for Triple Negative Breast Cancer: A Preliminary Study

Burkholz, Scott R.; Herst, Charles V.; Carback, Richard T.; Harris, Paul Emerson; Rubsamen, Reid M.

A triple negative breast cancer model using the murine 4T1 tumor cell line was used to explore the efficacy of an adjuvanted survivin peptide microparticle vaccine using tumor growth as the outcome metric. We first performed tumor cell dose titration studies to determine a tumor cell dose that resulted in sufficient tumor takes but allowed multiple serial measurements of tumor volumes, yet with minimal morbidity/mortality within the study period. Later, in a second co-hort of mice, the survivin peptide microparticle vaccine was administered via intraperitoneal injection at the study start with a second dose given 14 days later. An orthotopic injection of 4T1 cells into the mammary tissue was performed on the same day as the administration of the sec-ond vaccine dose. The mice were followed for up to 41 days with subcutaneous measurements of tumor volume made every 3–4 days. Vaccination with survivin peptides was associated with a peptide antigen-specific gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot response in the murine splenocyte population but was absent from the control microparticle group. At the end of the study, we found that vaccination with adjuvanted survivin peptide microparticles resulted in statistically significant slower primary tumor growth rates in BALB/c mice challenged with 4T1 cells relative to the control peptideless vaccination group. These studies suggest that T cell immunotherapy specifically targeting survivin might be an applicable neoadjuvant immuno-therapy therapy for triple negative breast cancer. More preclinical studies and clinical trials are needed to explore this concept further.


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April 4, 2023