Prospective randomized trial of lisofylline for the prevention of toxicities of high-dose interleukin 2 therapy in advanced renal cancer and malignant melanoma

Kim Margolin, Michael Atkins, Joseph Sparano, Jeffrey Sosman, Geoffrey Weiss, Michael Lotze, James Doroshow, James Mier, Kevin O'Boyle, Richard Fisher, Elizabeth Campbell, Joshua Rubin, David Federighi, Stuart Bursten

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38 Scopus citations


The therapeutic application of high-dose interleukin (IL) 2 in human malignancy is limited by severe multiorgan toxicities that are mediated, in part, by tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and IL-1. CT1501R (lisofylline; LSF) is one of several methyl xanthine congeners that inhibit the effects of TNF by the interruption of specific signal transduction pathways. This randomized, placebo-controlled trial was designed to assess the activity of LSF in reducing the toxicities of high-dose IL-2 therapy. Fifty-three patients with metastatic renal cancer or malignant melanoma were treated with i.v. bolus IL-2, 600,000 IU/kg every 8 h for 5 days (14 doses), followed by 9 days of rest and another 5-day course of IL-2. Patients were randomly assigned to LSF, 1.5 mg/kg i.v. bolus, or placebo every 6 h during IL-2 therapy. All patients were to be treated to individual maximum tolerance of IL-2 at the intensive care unit level of support. The end points for statistical analysis were the number of IL-2 doses administered during the first cycle of treatment (maximum, 28) and the toxicities experienced by each group after the first 8 planned IL-2 doses. There was no difference between the LSF and placebo groups in the mean number of IL-2 doses tolerated in the entire first cycle of therapy (19.6 ± 5.4 versus 19.5 ± 5.8, P = 0.86) or in the first or second 5-day course of IL-2. The only significant difference in toxicities occurring through the eighth dose of IL-2 was in the maximum elevation of serum creatinine (mean, 1.7 ± 0.8 for placebo versus 1.5 ± 0.6 mg/dl for LSF, P = 0.013). A Monte Carlo analysis of major toxicities over the first 14-dose course of therapy showed a statistically significant difference favoring the LSF-treated group (P = 0.025). LSF was well tolerated, associated only with mildly increased nausea (P = 0.006 after eight IL-2 doses, but not significant for the entire first cycle). The antitumor activity was comparable in both groups (objective responses, 2 of 28 with LSF versus 4 of 24 with placebo). The mean peak plasma concentrations of LSF on days 1, 5, and 19 were 6.24, 3.83, and 5.04 μmol/liter, respectively. In conclusion, with this dose and schedule, LSF did not alter the toxicities of high-dose i.v. IL-2 sufficiently to impact the overall dose intensity of IL-2. Successful IL-2 toxicity modulation may require the use of higher doses of LSF, the development of agents with more potent anti-TNF activity, and/or combined modulating agents that function via distinct mechanisms to interrupt cytokine-mediated signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 30 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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