HealthDay News – An experimental vaccine for breast cancer appears to be safe in a preliminary trial, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Mammaglobin-A (MAM-A) is overexpressed in 40% to 80% of primary breast cancers, noted Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, MD, PhD, of Tennessee State University, in Nashville, and colleagues. The vaccine prompts CD8 T-cells to track and eliminate the MAM-A protein.

To determine the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, the investigators conducted a phase I trial involving 14 patients diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

The side effects from the vaccine after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness, and mild flu-like symptoms. By the one-year mark roughly 50% of the patients showed no sign of disease progression. By comparison, only 20% of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out.

Even though the researchers stressed the need for a larger, longer study, they theorized that if the vaccine were given to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who had not yet been exposed to chemotherapy, the vaccine might prove even more effective at halting disease.

“The MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, capable of eliciting MAM-A–specific CD8 T-cell responses, and preliminary evidence suggests improved PF,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Tiriveedhi V et al. Clin Cancer Res. 2014; doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0059