Purpose: Clinical trials on adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT) using expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) have shown response rates of over 50% in refractory melanoma. However, little is known how clinical and pathologic features impact TIL outgrowth isolated from metastatic melanoma tumors.
Experimental design: We analyzed the impact of clinical and pathologic features on initial TIL outgrowth in 226 consecutive patients undergoing tumor resection. Successful initial TIL outgrowth was defined as ≥40 million viable lymphocytes harvested from all tumor fragments in a 5-week culture. To normalize for the different size of resected tumors and thus available tumor fragments, we divided the number of expanded TIL by the starting number of tumor fragments (TIL/fragment).
Results: Overall, initial TIL outgrowth was successful in 62% of patients, with patients ≤30 years of age (94%; P = 0.01) and female patients (71% vs. 57% for males; P = 0.04) having the highest rate of success. Systemic therapy 30 days before tumor harvest negatively impacted initial TIL outgrowth compared to patients who never received systemic therapy (47% vs. 71%, P = 0.02). Biochemotherapy within 0 to 60 days of tumor harvest negatively impacted the initial TIL outgrowth with a success rate of only 16% (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Parameters such as age, sex, and the type and timing of prior systemic therapy significantly affect the success rate of the initial TIL outgrowth from tumor fragments for ACT; these parameters may be helpful in selecting patients for melanoma ACT.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00338377.