Purpose: Preclinical data established IL15 as a homeostatic factor and powerful stimulator of NK and CD8+ T-cell function, the basis for clinical testing.Experimental Design: A first-in-human outpatient phase I dose escalation trial of subcutaneous (SC) rhIL15 was conducted in refractory solid tumor cancer patients. Therapy consisted of daily (Monday-Friday) subcutaneous injections of rhIL15 for two consecutive weeks (10 total doses/cycle). Clinical response was assessed by RECIST. Pharmacokinetics of rhIL15 and immune biomarkers were evaluated.Results: Nineteen patients were treated with rhIL15 at dose levels of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 mcg/kg/day. Fourteen patients completed ≥ 2 cycles of therapy that was well tolerated. One serious adverse event (SAE), grade 2 pancreatitis, required overnight hospitalization. Enrollment was halted after a patient receiving 3 mcg/kg/day developed a dose-limiting SAE of grade 3 cardiac chest pain associated with hypotension and increased troponin. No objective responses were observed; however, several patients had disease stabilization including a renal cell carcinoma patient who continued protocol treatment for 2 years. The treatment induced profound expansion of circulating NK cells, especially among the CD56bright subset. A proportional but less dramatic increase was found among circulating CD8+ T cells with maximal 3-fold expansion for the 2 and 3 mcg/kg patients.Conclusions: SC rhIL15 treatment was well tolerated, producing substantial increases in circulating NK and CD8+ T cells. This protocol establishes a safe outpatient SC rhIL15 regimen of 2 mcg/kg/day dosing amenable to self-injection and with potential as a combination immunotherapeutic agent. Clin Cancer Res; 24(7); 1525-35. ©2017 AACR.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01727076.
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.