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Hum Gene Ther. 1999 Apr 10;10(6):983-93.

Immunotherapy of metastatic malignant melanoma by a vaccine consisting of autologous interleukin 2-transfected cancer cells: outcome of a phase I study.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.


We performed a phase I trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of repeated skin injections of IL-2-transfected autologous melanoma cells into patients with advanced disease. Cell suspensions, propagated from excised metastases, were IL-2 gene transfected by adenovirus-enhanced transferrinfection and X-irradiated prior to injection. Vaccine production was successful in 54% of the patients. Fifteen patients (37%) received two to eight skin vaccinations of either 3 x 10(6) (intradermal) or 1 x 10(7) (half intradermal, half subcutaneous) transfected melanoma cells per vaccination (secreting 140-17,060 biological response modifier program units of IL-2/10(6) cells/24 hr). Analyses of safety and efficacy were carried out in 15 and 14 patients, respectively. Overall, the vaccine was well tolerated. All patients displayed modest local reactions (erythema, induration, and pruritus) and some experienced flu-like symptoms. Apart from newly appearing (4 of 14) and increasing (5 of 14) anti-adenovirus and newly detectable anti-nuclear antibody titers (1 of 15), recipients developed de novo or exhibited increased melanoma cell-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions (8 of 15) and vitiligo (3 of 15) and showed signs of tumor regression (3 of 15). This supports the idea of a vaccine-induced or -amplified anti-cancer immune response. None of the patients exhibited complete or partial regressions, but five of them experienced periods of disease stabilization. Three of these individuals received more than the four planned vaccinations and their mean survival time was 15.7 +/- 3.5 months as compared to 7.8 +/- 4.6 months for the entire patient cohort. These data indicate that IL-2-producing, autologous cancer cells can be safely administered to stage IV melanoma patients and could conceivably be of benefit to patients with less advanced disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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