Phase I trial of sequential low-dose 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine plus high-dose intravenous bolus interleukin-2 in patients with melanoma or renal cell carcinoma.
PURPOSE: The silencing of gene expression through DNA methylation contributes to defects in antigen presentation and apoptosis in melanoma and renal cell cancer. To determine how a hypomethylating agent would modulate the toxicity and antitumor activity of immunotherapy, we initiated a phase I trial of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (decitabine) plus high-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients received s.c. decitabine daily x 5 days on weeks 1 and 2 of a 12-week cycle. High-dose IL-2, consisting of two cycles of IL-2 600,000 IU/kg i.v. q8 hours x 14 doses separated by a 2-week break, was administered starting on week 3. Decitabine was escalated from 0.1 to 0.25 mg/kg. The hypomethylating activity of decitabine was assessed during cycle 1 by measuring hemoglobin F levels and changes in DNA methylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients with melanoma or renal cell cancer were enrolled. Decitabine did not alter the tolerability of IL-2 but caused grade 4 neutropenia in most patients. Grade 4 neutropenia lasting more than 7 days was the only dose-limiting toxicity, with a trend toward a higher incidence with increasing decitabine doses. Infection occurred in only one patient despite the high incidence of neutropenia, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor use in several patients expedited neutrophil recovery. Decitabine augmented hemoglobin F levels and altered DNA methylation and gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in a dose-independent manner that overlapped with the administration of IL-2. Objective responses occurred in 31% of melanoma patients. CONCLUSIONS: Decitabine can be safely administered with high-dose IL-2 and may enhance the activity of IL-2 in melanoma.
Gollob, JA; Sciambi, CJ; Peterson, BL; Richmond, T; Thoreson, M; Moran, K; Dressman, HK; Jelinek, J; Issa, J-PJ
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