Responses of patients with cancer to mRNA vaccines depend on the time interval between vaccination and last treatment

Lara Victoria Donhauser, Julia Veloso De Oliveira, Cordula Schick, Wenzel Manlik, Sabrina Styblova, Sarah Lutzenberger, Michael Aigner, Patrick Philipp, Sebastian Robert, Beate Gandorfer, Dirk Hempel, Louisa Hempel, Dietmar Zehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Personalized mRNA vaccines are promising new therapeutic options for patients with cancer. Because mRNA vaccines are not yet approved for first-line therapy, the vaccines are presently applied to individuals that received prior therapies that can have immunocompromising effects. There is a need to address how prior treatments impact mRNA vaccine outcomes. Method Therefore, we analyzed the response to BioNTech/Pfizer's anti-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in 237 oncology outpatients, which cover a broad spectrum of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors and a variety of treatments. Patients were stratified by the time interval between the last treatment and first vaccination and by the presence or absence of florid tumors and IgG titers and T cell responses were analyzed 14 days after the second vaccination. Results Regardless of the last treatment time point, our data indicate that vaccination responses in patients with checkpoint inhibition were comparable to healthy controls. In contrast, patients after chemotherapy or cortisone therapy did not develop an immune response until 6 months after the last systemic therapy and patients after Cht-immune checkpoint inhibitor and tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy only after 12 months. Conclusion Accordingly, our data support that timing of mRNA-based therapy is critical and we suggest that at least a 6-months or 12-months waiting interval should be observed before mRNA vaccination in systemically treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere007387
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2023


  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Antibody Formation
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Immunomodulation


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