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Abstract

There is increasing evidence that γδ T cells have potent innate antitumor activity. We described previously that synthetic aminobisphosphonates are potent γδ T cell stimulatory compounds that induce cytokine secretion (ie, interferon γ [IFN-γ]) and cell-mediated cytotoxicity against lymphoma and myeloma cell lines in vitro. To evaluate the antitumor activity of γδ T cells in vivo, we initiated a pilot study of low-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2) in combination with pamidronate in 19 patients with relapsed/refractory low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) or multiple myeloma (MM). The objectives of this trial were to determine toxicity, the most effective dose for in vivo activation/proliferation of γδ T cells, and antilymphoma efficacy of the combination of pamidronate and IL-2. The first 10 patients (cohort A) who entered the study received 90 mg pamidronate intravenously on day 1 followed by increasing dose levels of continuous 24-hour intravenous (IV) infusions of IL-2 (0.25 to 3 × 106 IU/m2) from day 3 to day 8. Even at the highest IL-2 dose level in vivo, γδ T-cell activation/proliferation and response to treatment were disappointing with only 1 patient achieving stable disease. Therefore, the next 9 patients were selected by positive in vitro proliferation of γδ T cells in response to pamidronate/IL-2 and received a modified treatment schedule (6-hour bolus IV IL-2 infusions from day 1-6). In this patient group (cohort B), significant in vivo activation/proliferation of γδ T cells was observed in 5 patients (55%), and objective responses (PR) were achieved in 3 patients (33%). Only patients with significant in vivo proliferation of γδ T cells responded to treatment, indicating that γδ T cells might contribute to this antilymphoma effect. Overall, administration of pamidronate and low-dose IL-2 was well tolerated. In conclusion, this clinical trial demonstrates, for the first time, that γδ T-cell–mediated immunotherapy is feasible and can induce objective tumor responses. (Blood. 2003;102:200-206)

  • Submitted December 4, 2002.
  • Accepted February 20, 2003.
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