Adenovector-mediated gene delivery of interleukin-2 in metastatic breast cancer and melanoma: results of a phase 1 clinical trial
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We conducted a phase 1 trial of direct injection of an E1, E3-deleted adenovirus encoding interleukin-2 (AdCAIL-2) into subcutaneous deposits of melanoma or breast cancer. Twenty-three patients were injected at seven dose levels (10(7)-10(10) p.f.u). Local inflammation was observed at the site of injection in 60% of patients, but side-effects were otherwise minor. Incomplete local tumor regression occurred at the site of injection in 24% of patients, but no conventional clinical responses were seen. Circulating CD4 and CD8 counts fell significantly 24 h after injection. Post-injection biopsies demonstrated tumor necrosis and lymphocytic infiltration with the predominant tumor-infiltrating cells both CD3- and CD8-positive. Vector-derived sequences were detected in 14 of 18 biopsies examined 7 days after injection and vector-derived hIL-2 mRNA was detected in 80% of 7-day biopsies processed after injection of 10(8) p.f.u. of AdCAIL-2 or higher. While IL-2 was detectable by ELISA in tumor biopsies at 48 h, no protein was detectable in injected tumors after 7 days and no circulating IL-2 was detectable at any time-point. No Ad5E1 sequences were detected either before or after injection indicating absence of replication-competent virus or endogenous E1-like sequence; furthermore, only rare vector shedding was detected. Anti-adenovirus and neutralizing antibody titers were elevated 1 month after injection in all patients. This trial therefore confirms the safety of use of adenoviral vectors for gene delivery in humans and demonstrates successful transgene expression even in the face of pre-existing immunity to adenovirus.
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