Purpose: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and interleukin (IL)-2 administered following lymphodepletion can cause the durable complete regression of bulky metastatic melanoma in patients refractory to approved treatments. However, the generation of a unique tumor-reactive TIL culture for each patient may be prohibitively difficult. We therefore investigated the clinical and immunologic impact of unscreened, CD8+ enriched "young" TIL.
Experimental design: Methods were developed for generating TIL that minimized the time in culture and eliminated the individualized tumor-reactivity screening step. Thirty-three patients were treated with these CD8+ enriched young TIL and IL-2 following nonmyeloablative lymphodepletion (NMA). Twenty-three additional patients were treated with CD8+ enriched young TIL and IL-2 after lymphodepletion with NMA and 6 Gy of total body irradiation.
Results: Young TIL cultures for therapy were successfully established from 83% of 122 consecutive melanoma patients. Nineteen of 33 patients (58%) treated with CD8+ enriched young TIL and NMA had an objective response (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) including 3 complete responders. Eleven of 23 patients (48%) treated with TIL and 6 Gy total body irradiation had an objective response including 2 complete responders. At 1 month after TIL infusion the absolute CD8+ cell numbers in the periphery were highly correlated with response.
Conclusions: This study shows that a rapid and simplified method can be used to reliably generate CD8+ enriched young TIL for administration as an individualized therapy for advanced melanoma, and may allow this potentially effective treatment to be applied at other institutions and to reach additional patients.