ABSTRACT: Interleukin-21 (IL-21), a pleiotropic immunostimulatory type I cytokine, has anticancer effects in animal models. Preclinical studies designed to assess the safety of recombinant human IL-21 (rIL-21) for use in phase I oncology studies are described. The rIL-21 (≤3.0 mg/kg per dose) was given intravenously to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) once daily for 5 days, followed by 9 nondosing days (1 cycle) for ≤4 cycles. The rIL-21 pharmacokinetics was dose-dependent. Accumulation was not observed after repeated dosing, consistent with the short elimination half-life (t (1/2,λz); 0.4-0.8 hours). Safety findings included cyclical anemia and thrombocytopenia, clinical pathology changes consistent with acute-phase response, leukocyte infiltrates in hepatic sinusoids, and sporadic serum transaminase elevations (typically <3 times upper-limit of normal); all were reversible upon cessation of treatment. Decreased pharmacodynamic responses with time corresponded to the development of anti-rIL-21 antibodies; effects varied among individuals and were dose-dependent. These studies demonstrated rIL-21 to be generally well-tolerated when administered to cynomolgus monkeys, and all adverse effects were reversible upon treatment cessation. However, development of anti-rIL-21 antibodies may limit the use of this species in long-term studies.
International Journal of Toxicology 06/2012; 31(4):303-16. · 1.28 Impact Factor