Phase I trial of combined immunotherapy with subcutaneous granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, low-dose interleukin 2, and interferon α in progressive metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma

Gijsbert C. de Gast, Heinz-Joseph Klümpen, Florry A. Vyth-Dreese, Marie-José Kersten, Natascha C. V. Verra, Johan Sein, Dian Batchelor, Willem J. Nooijen, Jan H. Schornagel

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The purpose of our study was to determine the maximally tolerated dose (MTD) and DLT of combined administration of granulocyte macrophage colony- stimulating factor (GM-CSF), low-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2) and IFN-α in patients with progressive metastatic melanoma or renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In addition, the activation and expansion of effector cells were measured. Cohorts of three patients were treated with increasing doses of IL-2 (1, 4, and 8 MIU/m2) and GM-CSF (2.5 and 5 μg/kg) with a constant dose of IFNα (5 million units) s.c. for 12 days every 3 weeks. An additional six patients were treated at the MTD. Immune activation was monitored during the first cycle. Response was evaluated after two cycles. The MTD was found to be 2.5 μg/kg GM-CSF, 4 MIU/m2 IL-2, and 5 mega units of IFNα. DLT was grade 4 fever, chills with hypotension, grade 3 fatigue/malaise, and fluid retention. Dose reduction of IL-2 to 2 MIU/m2 was necessary in three of nine patients who initially received the MTD. Treatment was initiated in the hospital but could be continued at home after 3-4 days. Significant increases in lymphocytes, (activated) T cells (CD4+ and CD8+), NK cells, monocyte DR expression, neutrophils, and eosinophils were found. CD8+ T-cell activation (sCD8) and NK cell expansion was mainly present in patients receiving 2 or 4 MIU/m2 IL-2. Of eight patients with progressive metastatic RCC after nephrectomy, three achieved a complete remission, and 1 of 7 patients with metastatic melanoma achieved a partial remission. In our study, the MTD of combined immunotherapy with GM-CSF, IL-2, and IFNα was established; DLT was: (a) grade 4 fever with hypotension needing i.v. fluid support; and (b) grade 3 fluid retention and/or fatigue/malaise. The scheme resulted in considerable expansion and/or activation of various effector cells. The complete responses in RCC patients are promising but need to be confirmed in Phase II studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1272
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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