Phase I clinical trial of recombinant human tumor necrosis factor in children with refractory solid tumors: a Pediatric Oncology Group study

J Clin Oncol. 1993 Nov;11(11):2205-10. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1993.11.11.2205.


Purpose: A phase I study was undertaken to determine the toxicity and maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of recombinant human tumor necrosis factor (rTNF) in children.

Patients and methods: Twenty-seven patients with recurrent or refractory solid tumors were enrolled on the study. rTNF was administered daily for 5 days by 30-minute intravenous (IV) infusion, and doses were escalated in cohorts of three to six patients. Courses were repeated after a 9-day rest period, if toxicity was tolerable. Daily doses ranged from 100 to 350 micrograms/m2.

Results: Most courses were associated with grade I/II fever, rigors, nausea, or vomiting. Three patients experienced moderate dyspnea that responded to supplemental oxygen. All abnormalities resolved on discontinuation of the infusion. One patient had a cardiac arrest 90 minutes after receiving the first dose of rTNF and died 10 days later of related complications. In two other patients, rTNF was discontinued due to persistent grade IV hypotension. Toxicities were not consistently related to dose and no cumulative effects were noted. The dose-limiting toxicity was transient hepatic dysfunction, which occurred in three of six patients receiving 350 micrograms/m2; this toxicity was rapidly reversed on discontinuation of the rTNF. One patient, whose non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had recurred after bone marrow transplantation, had a partial response. Disease was stabilized in two patients.

Conclusion: We recommend that phase II testing proceed at a dose of 300 micrograms/m2/d on the schedule described.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / adverse effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / therapeutic use*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha