After adoptive transfer of pre-activated lymphocytes into the operation cavity of glioma patients, tumor regression and improved survival have been reported in some patients. Results were most impressive when bispecific antibodies with tumor x CD3 specificity were also applied. In this study, we attempted to avoid time-consuming pre-activation procedures for adoptively transferred cells by using a combination of bispecific antibodies directed to the EGF receptor (EGFR) on tumor cells and to CD3 and CD28 on T cells. Eleven patients with high-grade malignant glioma received 3 injections of 2 bispecific antibody fragments (EGFR x CD3 and EGFR x CD28) together with freshly isolated autologous lymphocytes via an Ommaya reservoir. Intracavitary fluid aspirated during immunotherapy was examined for markers of T-cell activation. Increased levels of soluble IL-2 receptor and TNF-alpha were detected in the intracavitary fluid of all patients tested. Two of the 11 treated patients experienced a beneficial response to therapy as defined by a transient contrast enhancement in subsequent MRI scans and prolonged survival. Side effects were transient and consisted of fever, nausea, headache and aggravation of pre-existing neurologic deficits. These adverse effects were most likely due to the antibody construct containing anti-CD3 specificity. Two patients developed cerebral edema and required steroid treatment.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.