Phase II clinical trial of adoptive cell therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma with autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and low-dose interleukin-2

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019 May;68(5):773-785. doi: 10.1007/s00262-019-02307-x. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Adoptive cell therapy using autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) has shown significant clinical benefit, but is limited by toxicities due to a requirement for post-infusion interleukin-2 (IL-2), for which high dose is standard. To assess a modified TIL protocol using lower dose IL-2, we performed a single institution phase II protocol in unresectable, metastatic melanoma. The primary endpoint was response rate. Secondary endpoints were safety and assessment of immune correlates following TIL infusion. Twelve metastatic melanoma patients were treated with non-myeloablative lymphodepleting chemotherapy, TIL, and low-dose subcutaneous IL-2 (125,000 IU/kg/day, maximum 9-10 doses over 2 weeks). All but one patient had previously progressed after treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. No unexpected adverse events were observed, and patients received an average of 6.8 doses of IL-2. By RECIST v1.1, two patients experienced a partial response, one patient had an unconfirmed partial response, and six had stable disease. Biomarker assessment confirmed an increase in IL-15 levels following lymphodepleting chemotherapy as expected and a lack of peripheral regulatory T-cell expansion following protocol treatment. Interrogation of the TIL infusion product and monitoring of the peripheral blood following infusion suggested engraftment of TIL. In one responding patient, a population of T cells expressing a T-cell receptor Vβ chain that was dominant in the infusion product was present at a high percentage in peripheral blood more than 2 years after TIL infusion. This study shows that this protocol of low-dose IL-2 following adoptive cell transfer of TIL is feasible and clinically active. ( identifier NCT01883323.).

Keywords: Adoptive cell therapy; Clinical trial; Interleukin-2; Metastatic melanoma; Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Interleukin-15 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / transplantation
  • Male
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2

Associated data