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Cancer Res. 2007 Aug 1;67(15):7450-7.

Targeting human {gamma}delta} T cells with zoledronate and interleukin-2 for immunotherapy of hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

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Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Metodologie Biomediche, Università di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.


The increasing evidence that gammadelta T cells have potent antitumor activity suggests their value in immunotherapy, particularly in areas of unmet need such as metastatic carcinoma. To this end, we initiated a phase I clinical trial in metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer to examine the feasibility and consequences of using the gammadelta T-cell agonist zoledronate, either alone or in combination with low-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2), to activate peripheral blood gammadelta cells. Nine patients were enlisted to each arm. Neither treatment showed appreciable toxicity. Most patients were treated with zoledronate + IL-2, but conversely only two treated with zoledronate displayed a significant long-term shift of peripheral gammadelta cells toward an activated effector-memory-like state (T(EM)), producing IFN-gamma and perforin. These patients also maintained serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), consistent with a parallel microarray analysis showing that TRAIL is produced by gammadelta cells activated via the T-cell receptor and IL-2. Moreover, the numbers of T(EM) gammadelta cells showed a statistically significant correlation with declining prostate-specific antigen levels and objective clinical outcomes that comprised three instances of partial remission and five of stable disease. By contrast, most patients treated only with zoledronate failed to sustain either gammadelta cell numbers or serum TRAIL, and showed progressive clinical deterioration. Thus, zoledronate + IL-2 represents a novel, safe, and feasible approach to induce immunologic and clinical responses in patients with metastatic carcinomas, potentially providing a substantially increased window for specific approaches to be administered. Moreover, gammadelta cell phenotypes and possibly serum TRAIL may constitute novel biomarkers of prognosis upon therapy with zoledronate + IL-2 in metastatic carcinoma.

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