PURPOSE: Cancer patients display reduced humoral responses after double-dose COVID-19 vaccination while their cellular response is more comparable to that in healthy individuals. Recent studies demonstrated that a third vaccination dose boosts these immune responses, both in healthy people and cancer patients. Due to the availability of many different COVID-19 vaccines, many people have been boosted with a different vaccine from the one used for double-dose vaccination. Data on such alternative vaccination schedules are scarce. This prospective study compares a third dose of BNT162b2 after double-dose BNT162b2 (homologous) versus ChAdOx1 (heterologous) vaccination in cancer patients.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: 442 subjects (315 patients and 127 healthy) received a third dose of BNT162b2 (230 homologous vs 212 heterologous). Vaccine-induced adverse events (AE) were captured up to 7 days after vaccination. Humoral immunity was assessed by SARS-CoV-2 anti-S1 IgG antibody levels and SARSCoV-2 50% neutralization titers (NT50) against Wuhan and BA.1 Omicron strains. Cellular immunity was examined by analyzing CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 specific S1 and S2 peptides.
RESULTS: Local AEs were more common after heterologous boosting. SARS-CoV-2 anti-S1 IgG antibody levels did not differ significantly between homologous and heterologous boosted subjects (GMT 1755.90 BAU/mL [95% CI 1276.95-2414.48] vs 1495.82 BAU/mL (95% CI 1131.48-1977.46)). However, homologous boosted subjects show significantly higher NT50 values against BA.1 Omicron. Subjects receiving heterologous boosting demonstrated increased spike-specific CD8+ T cells, including higher IFNγ and TNFα levels.
CONCLUSIONS: In cancer patients who received double-dose ChAdOx1, a third heterologous dose of BNT162b2 was able to close the gap in antibody response.