Pilot trial of interleukin-2 and zoledronic acid to augment γδ T cells as treatment for patients with refractory renal cell carcinoma
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- Lang, J.M., Kaikobad, M.R., Wallace, M. et al. Cancer Immunol Immunother (2011) 60: 1447. doi:10.1007/s00262-011-1049-8
Prior to the advent of VEGF-targeted therapies, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) was among the few solid tumors shown to respond to cytokine-based therapies such as interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon alpha. Previous work has shown that aminobisphosphonates, including zoledronic acid (ZA), are capable of activating human Vγ9 Vδ2 T cells in vitro, and these cells can be further expanded with IL-2. Moreover, these Vγ9 Vδ2 T cells have cytolytic activity in vitro to multiple human tumor cell lines. In the current report, we have conducted a pilot trial in patients with metastatic RCC, evaluating different doses of ZA in combination with low-dose IL-2 to determine whether combining these agents can promote in vivo proliferation of Vγ9 Vδ2 T cells and elicit an antitumor response. In 12 patients evaluated, no objective clinical responses were observed by RECIST criteria; however, two patients experienced prolonged stable disease. A modest increase in Vγ9 Vδ2 T-cell frequency could be detected by Day 8 of therapy in four of the nine patients who received at least one cycle of therapy, but not to the magnitude anticipated from preclinical models. Repeated administration of IL-2 and ZA resulted in both a diminished in vivo percentage of Vγ9 Vδ2 T cells as well as impaired expansion in vitro after the first cycle of therapy. These results suggest that repeated administration of IL-2 and ZA, at the doses and schedules used in this trial, may actually inhibit the proliferative capacity of Vγ9 Vδ2 T cell in patients with metastatic RCC.