Minimally Cultured or Selected Autologous Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes After a Lympho-depleting Chemotherapy Regimen in Metastatic Melanoma Patients

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Adoptive cell therapy with autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2), after nonmyeloablative chemotherapy, has been shown to result in tumor regression in half of refractory metastatic melanoma patients. In the present study, we describe 2 separate clinical protocols. Twelve patients were treated with “Selected”-TIL, as previously reported and 8 patients with the modified version of “Young”-TIL. Selected-TIL protocol required the establishment of multiple T-cell cultures from 1 patient and in vitro selection of cultures secreting interferon-γ upon antigenic stimulation. In contrast, Young-TIL are minimally cultured T cells with superior in vitro features that do not require further selection. Two of 12 Selected-TIL patients experienced objective clinical responses (1 complete response, 1 partial response). Out of 8 treated Young-TIL patients, 1 experienced complete response, 2 partial response, and 4 patients had disease stabilization. Twenty-one of 33 enrolled Selected-TIL patients were excluded from the protocol, mainly as cultures failed the interferon-γ selection criteria or due to clinical deterioration, compared with only 3 Young-TIL patients. Expected bone marrow suppression and high-dose IL-2 toxicity were transient. There was no treatment-related mortality. This study vindicates the feasibility and effectiveness of TIL technology and calls for further efforts to implement and enhance this modality. The use of minimally cultured, unselected Young-TIL enables the treatment of most enrolled patients. Although the cohort of Young-TIL patients treated so far is rather small and the follow-up short, the response rate is encouraging.

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