A Phase I trial of TNFerade biologic in patients with soft tissue sarcoma in the extremities

Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 1;10(17):5747-53. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-0296.


Purpose: TNFerade is a second-generation replication-deficient adenovector carrying a transgene encoding human tumor necrosis factor alpha under control of a radiation- induced promoter. The objective of this study was to assess the tolerance of combining TNFerade and radiation therapy in patients with soft tissue sarcomas of the extremity.

Experimental design: TNFerade was administered in combination with single-daily fractionated radiation therapy in 14 patients with soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities. Three escalating dose levels of TNFerade (4 x 10(9) -4 x 10(11) particle units) were planned, given in 1 log increments by intratumoral injections, twice weekly during week 1 and once weekly during weeks 2-5 of radiation therapy.

Results: TNFerade was well tolerated with no dose-limiting toxicities noted. Grade 1-2 chills (50.0%), fever (43.0%), fatigue (36.0%), and flu-like symptoms (21.0%) were the most common side effects. Serum-tumor necrosis factor alpha levels were low in all of the patients (<15 pg/mL). No patients had virus-detected blood, sputum, or urine cultures. Of the 13 evaluable patients, 11 received TNFerade preoperatively, and 2 received the treatment for palliation. Eleven patients (85%) showed objective or pathological tumor responses (2 complete and 9 partial), and 1 had stable disease. Partial responses were achieved despite some of these tumors being very large (up to 675 cm(2)). Of the 11 patients who underwent surgery, 10 (91%) showed a pathological complete response/partial response.

Conclusion: TNFerade + radiation therapy was well tolerated in the treatment of patients with soft-tissue sarcoma of the extremity. The high number of objective responses observed warrants additional studies of this approach in a larger controlled prospective trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Extremities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / genetics
  • Sarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha