Purpose: Rituximab is a chimeric antibody that induces B-cell apoptosis and recruits immune effector cells to mediate cell lysis. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) facilitates cytolytic responses by T cells and natural killer cells. This phase II study was done to determine the efficacy and toxicity of IL-12 in combination with rituximab in patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Experimental Design: Fifty-eight patients with histologically confirmed relapsed B-cell NHL were randomized to receive concurrent treatment with rituximab and IL-12 (arm A) or rituximab with subsequent treatment with IL-12 after documented nonresponse or progression after rituximab (arm B). Treatment consisted of 375 mg/m2 rituximab on days 1, 8, 15, and 22 and 300 ng/kg IL-12 given s.c. twice weekly starting on day 2 for arm A or upon progression for arm B. Results: The overall response rate was 37% (11 of 30) in arm A and 52% (13 of 25) in arm B. All of the responses seen in arm B occurred while patients received rituximab, and no responses occurred during treatment with subsequent IL-12. The median duration of response was 16 months for arm A and 12 months for arm B. Biopsy specimens were serially obtained in a subset of patients and showed that changes in gene expression were different when cells from the peripheral blood were compared with cells from lymph node biopsies. Conclusions: The concomitant use of IL-12 and rituximab had modest disease activity in patients with B-cell NHL, but the sequential administration of IL-12 after rituximab did not result in additional clinical responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research