IL15 by continuous intravenous infusion to adult patients with solid tumors in a phase I trial induced dramatic NK-cell subset expansion

Kevin C. Conlon, E. Lake Potter, Stefania Pittaluga, Chyi Chia Richard Lee, Milos D. Miljkovic, Thomas A. Fleisher, Sigrid Dubois, Bonita R. Bryant, Michael Petrus, Liyanage P. Perera, Jennifer Hsu, William D. Figg, Cody J. Peer, Joanna H. Shih, Jason L. Yovandich, Stephen P. Creekmore, Mario Roederer, Thomas A. Waldmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Purpose: The first-in-human clinical trial with human bolus intravenous infusion IL15 (rhIL15) was limited by treatment-associated toxicity. Here, we report toxicity, immunomodulation, and clinical activity of rhIL15 administered as a 10-day continuous intravenous infusion (CIV) to patients with cancers in a phase I trial. Patients and Methods: Patients received treatment for 10 days with CIV rhIL15 in doses of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 mg/kg/day. Correlative laboratory tests included IL15 pharmacokinetic (PK) analyses, and assessment of changes in lymphocyte subset numbers. Results: Twenty-seven patients were treated with rhIL15; 2 mg/kg/day was identified as the MTD. There were eight serious adverse events including two bleeding events, papilledema, uveitis, pneumonitis, duodenal erosions, and two deaths (one due to likely drug-related gastrointestinal ischemia). Evidence of antitumor effects was observed in several patients, but stable disease was the best response noted. Patients in the 2 mg/kg/ day group had a 5.8-fold increase in number of circulating CD8þ T cells, 38-fold increase in total NK cells, and 358-fold increase in CD56bright NK cells. Serum IL15 concentrations were markedly lower during the last 3 days of infusion. Conclusions: This phase I trial identified the MTD for CIV rhIL15 and defined a treatment regimen that produced significant expansions of CD8þ T and NK effector cells in circulation and tumor deposits. This regimen has identified several biological features, including dramatic increases in numbers of NK cells, supporting trials of IL15 with anticancer mAbs to increase antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and anticancer efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4945-4954
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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