Synergistic effect of dendritic cell vaccination and anti-CD20 antibody treatment in the therapy of murine lymphoma

Zohar Gadri, Tova Kukulansky, Eyal Bar-Or, Joseph Haimovich, Nurit Hollander*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indolent B-cell lymphomas are characterized by repeated remissions and relapses with most patients eventually dying of the disease. Although combination treatments with chemotherapy and the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab improved duration of remissions and overall survival, the disease is essentially incurable. Thus, novel therapeutic approaches are needed. One such approach is active immunization with dendritic cells (DCs). Given that rituximab depletes patients of normal B cells, optimal vaccination strategies for rituximab-treated patients require induction of effector T cells. We have previously demonstrated in a murine model that idiotype (Id)-keyhole limpet hemocyanin-pulsed DCs induced Id-reactive CD8 T cells and protection against tumor challenge in the absence of anti-Id antibodies. On the basis of these results, we investigated vaccination in a therapeutic model, in which mice carrying advanced tumors of the highly aggressive 38C-13 lymphoma were treated with chemotherapy and anti-CD20 antibodies combined with a DC-based vaccine. As a rule, cytoreduction by cyclophosphamide was required in each regimen of combination treatment, and vaccination with tumor cell-loaded DCs was more effective than vaccination with Id-keyhole limpet hemocyanin-loaded DCs. We demonstrated that under conditions of large primary tumors that had already spread to lymph nodes, when anti-CD20 antibody treatment showed minimal effect and DC vaccination had no effect, synergism between anti-CD20 antibodies and DC vaccines resulted in significant long-term survival that did not involve active antitumor antibody production. Combination treatments including tumor cell-loaded DC vaccines may therefore provide a strategy for enhancing the potency of therapy in rituximab-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Anti-CD20 antibodies
  • B-cell lymphoma
  • Dendritic cell vaccines
  • Synergism


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