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Vaccination of patients with metastatic renal cancer with modified vaccinia Ankara encoding the tumor antigen 5T4 (TroVax) given alongside interferon-alpha.Hawkins, Robert E; Macdermott, Catriona; Shablak, Alaaeldin; Hamer, Caroline; Thistlethwaite, Fiona C; Drury, Noel L; Chikoti, Priscilla; Shingler, William; Naylor, Stuart; Harrop, Richard; et al. (2009-05)Approximately 90% of renal cell tumors overexpress the tumor antigen 5T4. The attenuated strain of vaccinia virus, modified vaccinia Ankara, has been engineered to express 5T4 (TroVax). We conducted an open-label phase 1/2 trial in which TroVax was administered alongside interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) to 11 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Antigen-specific cellular and humoral responses were monitored throughout the study, and clinical responses were assessed by measuring the changes in tumor burden by computed tomography scan (Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors). The primary objective was to assess the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of TroVax when given alongside IFNalpha. Treatment with TroVax plus IFNalpha was well tolerated with no serious adverse events attributed to TroVax. All 11 patients mounted 5T4-specific antibody responses and 5 (45%) mounted cellular responses. No objective tumor responses were seen, but the overall median time to progression (TTP) of 9 months (range: 2.1 to 26+ mo) was longer than expected for IFNalpha alone. For the 10 clear cell patients the TTP ranged from 3.9 to 26+ months, with a median TTP of 10.4 months. The high frequency of 5T4-specific immune responses and prolonged median TTP for clear cell patients compared with that expected for IFNalpha alone is encouraging and warrants further investigation.