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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 15;16(10):2861-71. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0569. Epub 2010 May 11.

Preoperative CTLA-4 blockade: tolerability and immune monitoring in the setting of a presurgical clinical trial.

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Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen (CTLA-4) blockade is being explored in numerous clinical trials as an immune-based therapy for different malignancies. Our group conducted the first preoperative clinical trial with the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab in 12 patients with localized urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.


Six patients were treated with 3 mg/kg/dose of anti-CTLA-4 and six patients were treated with 10 mg/kg/dose of antibody. Primary end points of the study were safety and immune monitoring.


Most drug-related adverse events consisted of grade 1/2 toxicities. All patients had measurable immunologic pharmacodynamic effects, consisting of an increased frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells in tumor tissues and the systemic circulation. To determine if CD4+ICOShi T cells could be a correlative marker for clinical outcome after treatment with anti-CTLA-4, a cohort of metastatic melanoma patients was studied retrospectively for frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells and survival. Data from this small cohort of patients indicated that an increased frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells, sustained over a period of 12 weeks of therapy, correlates with increased likelihood of clinical benefit consisting of overall survival.


Our trial shows that anti-CTLA-4 therapy has a tolerable safety profile in the presurgical setting and that a preoperative model can be used to obtain biological data on human immune responses, which can efficiently guide the monitoring of patients treated in the metastatic disease setting.

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