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A Pilot Study of the Combination of Retinoic Acid and Interferon-Alpha2a for the Treatment of Lymphoproliferative Disorders in Children With Immunodeficiency Syndromes

Phase 2
Not Enrolling
HIV Infections, Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes, Lymphoproliferative Disorders

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Trial Information

A Pilot Study of the Combination of Retinoic Acid and Interferon-Alpha2a for the Treatment of Lymphoproliferative Disorders in Children With Immunodeficiency Syndromes

Patients with congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies are at an increased risk to develop
polyclonal or oligoclonal lymphoid malignancies. Some develop a lymphoproliferative
disorder that can follow a clinically aggressive course and may represent a pre-malignant
lesion. Although most of these lymphoproliferative disorders are of B-cell origin, T-cell
or non-B-non-T-cell processes have also been observed. The pathogenesis is only partially
understood. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is thought to play an important role but the human
herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6) has been implicated as well. An imbalance in the expression of
several cytokines is observed and it is currently not clear whether this sustains the
aberrant proliferation or is a result thereof. In the case of pre-malignant conditions it
is often difficult to know when and whether a therapeutic intervention is necessary and a
careful consideration of potential treatment-associated morbidity is indicated. Therapies
have ranged from influencing the possible infectious etiology (by treating with acyclovir),
decreasing the amount of immunosuppression (in transplant patients), to the use of
immunomodulatory agents, including interferons and interleukins. Recent data have indicated
that the use of differentiating agents, such as the retinoids, might offer yet another
treatment option. In the current study we will try to get a better understanding of the
pathogenesis and natural course of lymphoproliferative disorders in immunodeficient
children. The study will mainly be open to children infected with the human
immunodeficiency virus but patients who develop a lymphoproliferative disorder
post-transplant or as part of another immunodeficiency state may also be enrolled. The
study will have two parts: an initial observation period to obtain information on the
natural course of these disorders, and then a six month treatment period with the
combination of a differentiating agent (13-cis-retinoic acid was used until
all-trans-retinoic acid became available on 7/96) with an immunomodulatory agent
(interferon-alpha2a, IFN-alpha2a).

Inclusion Criteria


Congenital or acquired immunodeficiency (including HIV-1 infection) with a
lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD) of any of the following types:

Severe and/or progressive lymphadenopathy with hypergammaglobulinemia.

Diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome.

Clinically symptomatic pulmonary lymphoid hyperplasia/lymphocytic interstitial

Polyclonal B-cell LPD.

No patients with malignant lymphoma.

No active opportunistic infection requiring acute intervention at entry.


Biologic Therapy:

At least 30 days since immunomodulating agents or biological response modifiers, e.g.:
Interleukin-2, Interferons, Growth hormone, Insulin-like growth factor 1.

Requirement waived for intravenous immunoglobulins for hypogammaglobulinemia.

Concurrent post-transplant immunosuppressants allowed. Doses stable for at least 4 weeks
prior to entry.

Chemotherapy: At least 30 days since chemotherapy.

Endocrine Therapy:

Concurrent corticosteroids allowed only for lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis or an
autoimmune process. Doses stable for more than 4 weeks prior to entry.

Radiotherapy: At least 30 days since radiotherapy.

Surgery: Not specified.

Antiretroviral therapy (in patients with HIV infection):

Approved anti-HIV medication required.

Initiated at least 8 weeks prior to entry.

Continued throughout protocol treatment.

Prophylaxis for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and/or Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare

Maintenance antifungal or antiviral therapy allowed.


Age: Under 18.

Performance status: Not specified.

One or more of the following laboratory findings (within 4 weeks of starting retinoic acid
and interferon-alpha , and which have not resolved within 2 weeks of starting):

Creatinine greater than 2 times the upper limit of normal;

Liver transaminases greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (children with
chronically elevated liver enzymes with a proven etiology can be enrolled, but will not be
evaluable for liver toxicity); or

Bilirubin greater than 3 times the upper limit of normal.

Patients receiving treatment for an acute infection must have completed therapy at least
14 days prior to starting therapy with retinoic acid and interferon-alpha.


Able to swallow capsules.

No requirement for drugs suspected of causing pseudotumor cerebri for which alternatives
cannot be substituted, e.g.: Tetracycline, Nalidixic acid, Nitrofurantoin, Phenytoin,
Lithium, Amiodarone, Vitamin A (except as a multivitamin supplement component).

No critical or clinically unstable illness.

No pregnant or nursing women.

Effective contraception encouraged in fertile patients.

Parent or legal guardian available to give informed consent and deemed sufficiently
reliable to return for followup visits.

No critically ill or critically unstable children.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Primary Purpose: Treatment


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

June 1995

Completion Date:

December 2000

Related Keywords:

  • HIV Infections
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders
  • HIV Infection
  • Immune Response
  • Pediatric
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Toxicity
  • HIV Infections
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders



National Cancer Institute (NCI) Bethesda, Maryland  20892