It is debated whether cancer patients treated with chemotherapy can mount an adequate response to vaccination. Material and methods. Ninety-six adult outpatients with cancer, who were undergoing chemotherapy and/or monoclonal antibody, tyrosine kinase inhibitor, irradiation or corticosteroid treatments, were studied. Two doses of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1)/09 AS03-adjuvanted split virion vaccine, one dose of the seasonal influenza vaccine and one dose of the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine were given. Serum haemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays were used to determine antibody titres against the influenza strains. For the pneumococcal vaccine 14 different serotype-specific anti-capsular antibodies were measured by bead assay xMAP (R). Results. Patients treated with rituximab did not respond to vaccination. For patients without rituximab treatment 4% had putatively protective antibodies before vaccination (HI >= 40) to the pandemic-like strain A/California7/2009HINI. After the first and second dose of vaccine, seroprotection rates (SPR) were 62% and 87%, and seroconversion rates (SCR) 62% and 84%, respectively. Before seasonal flu vaccination SPR against influenza A/Brisbane/59/2007H1N1 and A/Uruguay/10/2007H3N2 were 19% and 17%, respectively. After vaccination, SPR were 70% and 59% and SCR 42% and 50%, respectively. For the pneumococcal vaccine protective antibodies were found to 40% of the 14 strains before and to 68% after vaccination. The mean response to pneumococcal vaccination was to 44% of the 14 serotypes. A response to at least 50% of the 14 serotypes was found in 49% of the patients. No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusion. A substantial number of adult cancer patients with ongoing chemotherapy treatment could mount an adequate serological response to influenza and pneumococcal vaccination without severe adverse events. Thus, vaccination should be recommended. Adjuvanted vaccines may improve the vaccine response among this patient group. Patients recently treated with rituximab do not respond to vaccination.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Cancer and Oncology