Phase III placebo-controlled trial of denileukin diftitox for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

J Clin Oncol. 2010 Apr 10;28(11):1870-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.26.2386. Epub 2010 Mar 8.


PURPOSE This phase III, placebo-controlled, randomized trial was designed to investigate efficacy and safety of two doses of denileukin diftitox (DD; DAB(389)-interleukin-2 [IL-2]), a recombinant fusion protein targeting IL-2 receptor-expressing malignant T lymphocytes, in patients with stage IA to III, CD25 assay-positive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), including the mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome forms of the disease, who had received up to three prior therapies. The primary end point was overall response rate (ORR). PATIENTS AND METHODS Patients (N = 144) with biopsy-confirmed, CD25 assay-positive CTCL were randomly assigned to DD 9 microg/kg/d (n = 45), DD 18 microg/kg/d (n = 55), or placebo infusions (n = 44), administered for 5 consecutive days every 3 weeks for up to eight cycles. Patients were monitored for drug efficacy, clinical benefit, and safety of DD. RESULTS ORR was 44% for all participants treated with DD (n = 100; 10% complete response [CR] and 34% partial response [PR]) compared with 15.9% for placebo-treated patients (2% CR and 13.6% PR). ORR was higher in the 18 microg/kg/d group versus the 9 microg/kg/d group (49.1% v 37.8%, respectively), and both doses were significantly superior to placebo. Progression-free survival (PFS) was significantly longer (median, > 2 years) for both DD doses compared with placebo (median, 124 days; P < .001). Rates of moderately severe and severe adverse events (AEs) were slightly higher in the DD groups, whereas moderate and mild AEs were similar to placebo. No statistical differences were observed for drug-related serious AEs. CONCLUSION DD had a significant and durable effect on ORR and PFS with an acceptable safety profile in patients with early- and late-stage CTCL.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diphtheria Toxin / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • International Agencies
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Placebos
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Safety
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • Interleukin-2
  • Placebos
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • denileukin diftitox