The placebo effect is a phenomenon in which patients who are given an inactive treatment (e.g., inert pill) show a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition. Placebo effects in clinical trials have been investigated for many years especially because placebo treatments often serve as the control arm of randomized clinical trial designs. Recent observations suggest that placebo effects may be modified by genetics. This observation has given rise to the term “placebome,” which refers to a group of genome-related mediators that affect an individual’s response to placebo treatments. In this study, we conduct a network analysis of the placebome and identify a placebome module in the comprehensive human interactome using a seed-connector algorithm. The placebome module is significantly enriched with neurotransmitter signaling pathways and brain-specific proteins. We validate the placebome module using a large cohort of the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS) trial and demonstrate that the placebome module is significantly enriched with genes whose SNPs modify the outcome in the placebo arm of the trial. To gain insights into placebo effects in different diseases and drug treatments, we use a network proximity measure to examine the closeness of the placebome module to different disease modules and drug target modules. The results demonstrate that the network proximity of the placebome module to disease modules in the interactome significantly correlates with the strength of the placebo effect in the corresponding diseases. The proximity of the placebome module to molecular pathways affected by certain drug classes indicates the existence of placebo-drug interactions. This study is helpful for understanding the molecular mechanisms mediating the placebo response, and sets the stage for minimizing its effects in clinical trials and for developing therapeutic strategies that intentionally engage it.
Rui-Sheng Wang, Kathryn T. Hall, Franco Giulianini, Dani Passow, Ted J. Kaptchuk, Joseph Loscalzo
Vivek Subbiah, Muhammad Rizwan Khawaja, David S. Hong, Behrang Amini, Jiang Yungfang, Hui Liu, Adrienne Johnson, Alexa B. Schrock, Siraj M. Ali, James X. Sun, David Fabrizio, Sarina Piha-Paul, Siqing Fu, Apostolia M. Tsimberidou, Aung Naing, Filip Janku, Daniel D. Karp, Michael Overman, Cathy Eng, Scott Kopetz, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Gerald S. Falchook
Background. Reports on long-term (≥10 years) effects of cancer vaccines are missing. Therefore, in 2002, we initiated a phase I/II trial in cutaneous melanoma patients to further explore the immunogenicity of our DC vaccine and to establish its long-term toxicity and clinical benefit after a planned 10-year followup.
Methods. Monocyte-derived DCs matured by TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, and PGE2 and then loaded with 4 HLA class I and 6 class II–restricted tumor peptides were injected intradermally in high doses over 2 years. We performed serial immunomonitoring in all 53 evaluable patients.
Results. Vaccine-specific immune responses including high-affinity, IFNγ-producing CD4+ and lytic polyfunctional CD8+ T cells were de novo induced or boosted in most patients. Exposure of mature DCs to trimeric soluble CD40 ligand, unexpectedly, did not further enhance such immune responses, while keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) pulsing to provide unspecific CD4+ help promoted CD8+ T cell responses — notably, their longevity. An unexpected 19% of nonresectable metastatic melanoma patients are still alive after 11 years, a survival rate similar to that observed in ipilimumab-treated patients and achieved without any major (>grade 2) toxicity. Survival correlated significantly with the development of intense vaccine injection site reactions, and with blood eosinophilia after the first series of vaccinations, suggesting that prolonged survival was a consequence of DC vaccination.
Conclusions. Long-term survival in advanced melanoma patients undergoing DC vaccination is similar to ipilimumab-treated patients and occurs upon induction of tumor-specific T cells, blood eosinophilia, and strong vaccine injection site reactions occurring after the initial vaccinations.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00053391.
FUNDING. European Community, Sixth Framework Programme (Cancerimmunotherapy LSHC-CT-2006-518234; DC-THERA LSHB-CT-2004-512074), and German Research Foundation (CRC 643, C1, Z2).
Stefanie Gross, Michael Erdmann, Ina Haendle, Steve Voland, Thomas Berger, Erwin Schultz, Erwin Strasser, Peter Dankerl, Rolf Janka, Stefan Schliep, Lucie Heinzerling, Karl Sotlar, Pierre Coulie, Gerold Schuler, Beatrice Schuler-Thurner
Julie E. Bauman, Umamaheswar Duvvuri, William E. Gooding, Tanya J. Rath, Neil D. Gross, John Song, Antonio Jimeno, Wendell G. Yarbrough, Faye M. Johnson, Lin Wang, Simion Chiosea, Malabika Sen, Jason Kass, Jonas T. Johnson, Robert L. Ferris, Seungwon Kim, Fred R. Hirsch, Kimberly Ellison, John T. Flaherty, Gordon B. Mills, Jennifer R. Grandis
Jan A. Burger, Kelvin W. Li, Michael J. Keating, Mariela Sivina, Ahmed M. Amer, Naveen Garg, Alessandra Ferrajoli, Xuelin Huang, Hagop Kantarjian, William G. Wierda, Susan O’Brien, Marc K. Hellerstein, Scott M. Turner, Claire L. Emson, Shih-Shih Chen, Xiao-Jie Yan, Dominik Wodarz, Nicholas Chiorazzi
Judith E. Epstein, Kristopher M. Paolino, Thomas L. Richie, Martha Sedegah, Alexandra Singer, Adam J. Ruben, Sumana Chakravarty, April Stafford, Richard C. Ruck, Abraham G. Eappen, Tao Li, Peter F. Billingsley, Anita Manoj, Joana C. Silva, Kara Moser, Robin Nielsen, Donna Tosh, Susan Cicatelli, Harini Ganeshan, Jessica Case, Debbie Padilla, Silas Davidson, Lindsey Garver, Elizabeth Saverino, Tooba Murshedkar, Anusha Gunasekera, Patrick S. Twomey, Sharina Reyes, James E. Moon, Eric R. James, Natasha KC, Minglin Li, Esteban Abot, Arnel Belmonte, Kevin Hauns, Maria Belmonte, Jun Huang, Carlos Vasquez, Shon Remich, Mary Carrington, Yonas Abebe, Amy Tillman, Bradley Hickey, Jason Regules, Eileen Villasante, B. Kim Lee Sim, Stephen L. Hoffman
Craig Balmforth, Job J.M.H. van Bragt, Titia Ruijs, James R. Cameron, Robert Kimmitt, Rebecca Moorhouse, Alicja Czopek, May Khei Hu, Peter J. Gallacher, James W. Dear, Shyamanga Borooah, Iain M. MacIntyre, Tom M.C. Pearson, Laura Willox, Dinesh Talwar, Muriel Tafflet, Christophe Roubeix, Florian Sennlaub, Siddharthan Chandran, Baljean Dhillon, David J. Webb, Neeraj Dhaun
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