Purpose: Interleukin-15 (IL-15) has significant potential in cancer immunotherapy as an activator of antitumor CD8 T and natural killer (NK) cells. The primary objectives of this trial were to determine safety, adverse event profile, dose-limiting toxicity, and maximum-tolerated dose of recombinant human IL-15 (rhIL-15) administered as a daily intravenous bolus infusion for 12 consecutive days in patients with metastatic malignancy. Patients and Methods: We performed a first in-human trial of Escherichia coliproduced rhIL-15. Bolus infusions of 3.0, 1.0, and 0.3 μg/kg per day of IL-15 were administered for 12 consecutive days to patients with metastatic malignant melanoma or metastatic renal cell cancer. Results: Flow cytometry of peripheral blood lymphocytes revealed dramatic efflux of NK and memory CD8 T cells from the circulating blood within minutes of IL-15 administration, followed by influx and hyperproliferation yielding 10-fold expansions of NK cells that ultimately returned to baseline. Up to 50-fold increases of serum levels of multiple inflammatory cytokines were observed. Dose-imiting toxicities observed in patients receiving 3.0 and 1.0 μg/kg per day were grade 3 hypotension, thrombocytopenia, and elevations of ALT and AST, resulting in 0.3 μg/kg per day being determined the maximum-tolerated dose. Indications of activity included clearance of lung lesions in two patients Conclusion: IL-15 could be safely administered to patients with metastatic malignancy. IL-15 administration markedly altered homeostasis of lymphocyte subsets in blood, with NK cells and γ8 cells most dramatically affected, followed by CD8 memory T cells. To reduce toxicity and increase efficacy, alternative dosing strategies have been initiated, including continuous intravenous infusions and subcutaneous IL-15 administration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research