Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Novel Vaccine Under Study in Basal Cell Carcinoma

By: Cordi Craig, MS
Posted: Monday, March 29, 2021

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, yet new treatments are lacking for patients with numerous and widespread tumors. According to a small phase IIa trial, published in Cancers, IO103, a peptide vaccine against PD-L1, may be effective against some types of basal cell carcinomas. The researchers of the study observed regressions in tumor size and mild adverse events among the study population.

“The low toxicity and high immunogenicity of the vaccine shown in this study have supported the initiation of further studies,” Lone Skov, DMSc, of the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues concluded. “In skin cancer, a larger trial is ongoing vaccinating patients with melanoma in combination with anti–PD-1 antibodies.”

Overall, 10 patients with resectable basal cell carcinoma were vaccinated with IO103 and the vaccine adjuvant Montanide ISA-51. Of them, six patients received six vaccinations, and four patients received nine vaccinations. In each patient, the researchers identified a single target tumor that was biopsied twice during the course of vaccination. Nontarget tumors were not biopsied during vaccinations.

Of the 10 target tumors, 2 decreased at least 30% in longest diameter, and 8 showed stable disease. A decrease in longest diameter was observed in 70% of the tumors. In the eight nontarget tumors, two complete responses and one partial response were achieved. Stable disease was observed in the remaining five tumors.

No tumor progression was observed, and related adverse events were reported to be mild and reversible. Immune responses against the vaccine were induced in blood samples from nine patients. Of those patients, five showed immune responses in skin samples. Most of the nontarget tumors (75%) decreased in size, indicating the vaccine may be effective against a subtype of basal cell carcinoma.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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