The immunological effects of recombinant human interleukin 12 (rhIL-12) administration were examined during the conduct of a Phase I clinical trial. Forty patients with advanced cancer received bolus i.v. injections of rhIL- 12 in doses ranging between 3 and 1000 ng/kg. Dose-dependent increases in serum IFN-γ levels were seen during rhIL-12 therapy. Significant lymphopenia was observed 24 h after single i.v. injections of rhIL-12 at each dose level. The degree of lymphopenia was dose dependent, and a plateau effect was seen with rhIL-12 doses of 100 ng/kg and higher. Lymphocyte counts reached nadir levels at approximately 10 h after rhIL-12 injection and returned to baseline within 14 days postinjection. Rebound lymphocytosis, as seen after interleukin 2 therapy, was not observed after recovery from rhIL-12-induced lymphopenia, rhIL-12-induced lymphopenia involved all major lymphocyte subsets, although natural killer (NK) cell numbers were the most profoundly affected, and CD4 T-cell numbers were the least affected. CD2, LFA-1, and CD56 were transiently up-regulated on the surface of NK cells exposed to rhIL-12 in vivo. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from cancer patients before rhIL-12 therapy exhibited defective NK cell cytotoxicity and T-cell-proliferative responses. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained after lymphocyte recovery following the administration of a single 500 ng/kg dose of rhIL-12 displayed augmented NK cell cytolytic activity in four of four patients tested and enhanced T-cell proliferation in three of four patients tested. These studies confirm that doses of rhIL-12 resulting in significant immunological activity can be administered with acceptable toxicity to cancer patients. Furthermore, rhIL-12 therapy can reverse defects in NK cell and T-cell function that are associated with advanced cancer in humans.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Clinical Cancer Research|
|State||Published - 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research