Enhancement of the anti-tumor activity of a peripheral blood progenitor cell graft by mobilization with interleukin 2 plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in patients with advanced breast cancer

Exp Hematol. 2000 Jan;28(1):96-103. doi: 10.1016/s0301-472x(99)00129-0.


Objective: Autologous interleukin 2 (IL-2)-activated natural killer (NK) cells kill a broad spectrum of tumor targets, including breast cancer. We hypothesized that mobilization with IL-2 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for collection of peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) may enhance the anti-tumor activity of the graft in autograft recipients. We determined the dose-limiting toxicity and maximum tolerated dose of subcutaneous IL-2 given with G-CSF for PBPC mobilization, the ability of IL-2 + G-CSF mobilized stem cells to reconstitute hematopoiesis, and the in vitro immunologic function of the graft in patients with advanced breast cancer. MATERIALS AID METHODS: Forty-three women with stage IIIA/B or metastatic breast cancer underwent mobilization of PBPC with IL-2 administered subcutaneously for 14 days along with G-CSF for the latter 7 days. IL-2 was given in a dose-escalated manner, with the maximum tolerated dose determined to be 1.75 x 10(6) IU/m(2)/day. Fifteen women with stage IIIA/B or metastatic breast cancer underwent G-CSF mobilization alone and served as a control group.

Results: [corrected] Fifty-two percent of the patients mobilized with 1L-2 at the maximum tolerated dose reached the target number of CD34(+) cells for transplantation with three aphereses compared to 93% of control patients who were mobilized with G-CSF alone. [corrected] There was no significant impact on time to engraftment of neutrophils or platelets using either mobilization regimen. The addition of subcutaneous IL-2 to mobilization increased the cytotoxicity of IL-2-activated mononuclear cells from the PBPC product against the breast cancer cell target, MCF-7, and increased the percentage of NK cells and activated T cells in the PBPC product. The enhanced NK cell number was sustained in the early posttransplant period.

Conclusions: [corrected] IL-2 + G-CSF mobilization is safe, may lead to a more immunologically functional graft without impairing hematologic recovery, and thus merits further exploration to evaluate the clinical anti-tumor efficacy of these immunocompetent grafts. [corrected] Limitations of this combined approach to stem cell mobilization include a decrease in the number of CD34(+) cells mobilized with the combined cytokines and the short duration of the increased number of anti-tumor effector cells after transplant.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD34 / biosynthesis
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / drug effects
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / adverse effects
  • HLA-DR Antigens / biosynthesis
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mobilization / methods
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage*
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, CD34
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor