[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), the fifth most common malignancy in the United States, has increased over 70% in the last 30 years. Fifty percent to 75% of patients with low-grade or follicular NHL respond to rituximab therapy. However, responses are generally of limited duration, and complete responses are rare. Preclinical work suggests that human recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2; aldesleukin, Proleukin) enhances rituximab efficacy. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is an important mechanism of action of rituximab. rIL-2 induces expansion and activation of Fc receptor (FcR)-bearing cells, thereby enhancing ADCC. Therefore, a large, multicenter phase 2 trial to assess the effects of rIL-2 on rituximab therapy in patients with rituxumab-refractory low-grade NHL was conducted.
The combination of rituximab and rIL-2 was studied in 57 patients with rituximab-refractory low-grade NHL (i.e., patients must have received a single-agent course of rituximab and showed no tumor response, or had a response lasting <6 months). I.V. rituximab was given at 375 mg/m(2) (weeks 1-4). S.C. rIL-2 was given thrice a week at 14 MIU (weeks 2-5) and at 10 MIU (weeks 6-9).
Rituximab plus rIL-2 combination therapy was safe and generally well tolerated, but responses were low. Fifty-seven patients were enrolled with 54 evaluable for response; however, only five responses (one complete and four partial) were observed. Correlative data indicate that rIL-2 expanded FcR-bearing cells and enhanced ADCC. However, other factors, such as FcgammaR polymorphisms in patients refractory to single-agent rituxumab and heterogeneous tumor biology, may have influenced the lack of clinical efficacy seen with this combination therapy.
rIL-2 expands FcR-bearing cellular subsets in vivo and enhances in vitro ADCC of rituxumab. However, these findings do not directly translate into meaningful clinical benefit for patients with rituxumab-refractory NHL.
No preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expansion and activation of natural killer (NK) cells with interleukin-2 (IL-2) may enhance antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), an important mechanism of rituximab activity. Two parallel Phase I studies evaluated combination therapy with rituximab and IL-2 in relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
Thirty-four patients with advanced NHL received rituximab (375 mg/m(2) i.v. weekly, weeks 1-4) and escalating doses of s.c. IL-2 [2-7.5 MIU daily (n = 19) or 4.5-14 million international units three times weekly (n = 15), weeks 2-5]. Safety, tolerability, clinical responses, NK cell counts, and ADCC activity were evaluated.
Maximally tolerated doses (MTD) of IL-2 were 6 MIU daily and 14 million international units thrice weekly. The most common adverse events were fever, chills, and injection site reactions. Dose-limiting toxicities were fatigue and reversible liver enzyme test elevations. Of the 9 patients enrolled at the daily schedule MTD, 5 showed clinical response. On the thrice-weekly schedule at the MTD, 4 of 5 patients responded. Responders showed median time to progression of 14.9 and 16.1 months, respectively, for the two studies. For the same total weekly dose, thrice-weekly IL-2 administration induced greater increases in NK cell counts than daily dosing, and NK cells correlated with clinical response on the thrice-weekly regimen. ADCC activity was increased and maintained after IL-2 therapy in responding and stable disease patients.
Addition of IL-2 to rituximab therapy is safe and, using thrice-weekly IL-2 dosing, results in NK cell expansion that correlates with response. This combination treatment regimen merits additional evaluation in a randomized clinical trial.
No preview · Article · May 2004 · Clinical Cancer Research