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Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Apr 15;20(8):2215-25. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3205. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Ultra low-dose IL-2 for GVHD prophylaxis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation mediates expansion of regulatory T cells without diminishing antiviral and antileukemic activity.

Author information

1
Authors' Affiliations: Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine; The Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas; and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) has been associated with low numbers of circulating CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). Because Tregs express high levels of the interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, they may selectively expand in vivo in response to doses of IL-2 insufficient to stimulate T effector T-cell populations, thereby preventing GVHD.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:

We prospectively evaluated the effects of ultra low-dose (ULD) IL-2 injections on Treg recovery in pediatric patients after alloSCT and compared this recovery with Treg reconstitution post alloSCT in patients without IL-2. Sixteen recipients of related (n = 12) or unrelated (n = 4) donor grafts received ULD IL-2 post hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT; 100,000-200,000 IU/m(2) ×3 per week), starting <day 30 and continuing for 6 to 12 weeks.

RESULTS:

No grade 3/4 toxicities were associated with ULD IL-2. CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Tregs increased from a mean of 4.8% (range, 0%-11.0%) pre IL-2 to 11.1% (range, 1.2%-31.1%) following therapy, with the greatest change occurring in the recipients of matched related donor (MRD) transplants. No IL-2 patients developed grade 2-4 acute GVHD (aGVHD), compared with 4 of 33 (12%) of the comparator group who did not receive IL-2. IL-2 recipients retained T cells reactive to viral and leukemia antigens, and in the MRD recipients, only 2 of 13 (15%) of the IL-2 patients developed viral infections versus 63% of the comparator group (P = 0.022).

CONCLUSIONS:

Hence, ULD IL-2 is well tolerated, expands a Treg population in vivo, and may be associated with a lower incidence of viral infections and GVHD.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00539695.

PMID:
24573552
PMCID:
PMC3989436
DOI:
10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3205
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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