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Adoptive Transfer of MART-1 F5 TCR Engineered Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) After a Nonmyeloablative Conditioning Regimen, With Administration of MART-126•35-Pulsed Dendritic Cells and Interleukin-2, in Patients With Advanced Melanoma

Phase 2
18 Years
Open (Enrolling)
Metastatic Melanoma

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Trial Information

Adoptive Transfer of MART-1 F5 TCR Engineered Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) After a Nonmyeloablative Conditioning Regimen, With Administration of MART-126•35-Pulsed Dendritic Cells and Interleukin-2, in Patients With Advanced Melanoma

This is a two-stage phase II clinical trial with the combined primary endpoints to determine
the safety, feasibility and anti-tumor activity of adoptive transfer of peripheral blood
mononuclear cells (PBMC) genetically engineered to express the alpha and beta chains of a
high affinity T cell receptor (TCR) specific for the HLA-A*0201-restricted MART-1 melanoma
tumor antigen to patients with locally advanced or metastatic melanoma. This gene transfer
will be facilitated by a retroviral vector pseudotyped with a gibbon ape leukemia virus
(GaLV) envelope. The two transgenes are linked by a picornavirus 2A sequence. Their
expression is driven by the retroviral long terminal repeat (LTR).

Patients with MART-1-positive locally advanced or metastatic melanoma who are
HLA-A*0201-positive, and HIV, hepatitis B and C seronegative, will receive a
non-myeloablative but lymphocyte depleting chemotherapy conditioning regimen consisting of
cyclophosphamide and fludarabine, and then receive the adoptive transfer of autologous PBMC
transduced with the MSGV1-F5AfT2AB retroviral vector, which expresses a high affinity TCR
for the MART-1 melanoma antigen (MART-1 F5 TCR). The cell dose will be up to 10^9 autologous
PBMC transduced with the MSGV1-F5AfT2AB retroviral vector. The transgenic T cells will be
infused fresh on the day of harvest as done in the last three patients within this protocol,
prior to which, thawed cryopreserved cells were infused. Following adoptive cell transfer,
patients will receive MART-1.26-35 peptide-pulsed dendritic cell (DC) vaccines and low dose
interleukin-2 (IL-2).

The MART-1 F5 TCR was provided by Dr. Stephen A. Rosenberg from the Surgery Branch, National
Cancer Institute (NCI). The MART-1 F5 TCR is derived from the DMF5 tumor infiltrating
lymphocyte (TIL) clone, and was selected from several MART-1-specific TCRs because of its
high affinity and biological activity. This TCR delivered by the same retroviral vector is
currently in clinical testing at the Surgery Branch/NCI. Both the NCI clinical trial and the
trial at UCLA are based on the same retrovirus expressing the MART-1 F5 TCR used to
transduce whole PBMC and re-infused to patients after a non-myeloablative but
lymphodepleting chemotherapy conditioning regimen. Major differences between both clinical
trials include the shorter ex vivo expansion of TCR transduced PBMC, the use of MART-126-35
peptide pulsed DC and the use of positron imaging tomography (PET) for non-invasive imaging
of adoptively transferred TCR transgenic cells in the UCLA clinical trial.

The primary endpoints will be safety, feasibility and objective tumor response. The phase II
clinical trial design will have two treatment stages following a Simon optimal two-stage
clinical phase II clinical trial design 1. The clinical trial will have an initial stage
with 8 patients followed by a second stage with up to 22 patients.

Safety will be determined in stage one, and if 3 out of 8 patients have MART-1 F5
TCR-induced dose limiting toxicities (DLT), then further accrual will not be warranted.
Feasibility will be also determined in the first stage, and if 3 out of 8 patients cannot
receive the intended cellular therapies, or if they result in suboptimal TCR transgenic cell
in vivo persistence, further accrual will not be warranted to the protocol as currently
designed. Objective tumor responses will be determined by RECIST objective response criteria
with a design to rule out a 10% response rate as the null hypothesis, and a 35% response
rate as the alternative hypothesis. With this statistical design, if 2 or more of 8 patients
in stage one have an objective response, the study will proceed to stage two and accrue a
total of 22 patients. If 5 or more patients in the overall study have a complete response
(CR) or partial response (PR), which combined result in the objective response rate, the
study will be declared positive.

Secondary study endpoints are transgenic T cell persistence in humans and their ability to
home to MART-1 positive melanoma metastasis. Analysis will be performed by sampling of
peripheral blood and tumor deposits for T cell persistence and by non-invasive metabolic
imaging using PET scans.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Histologically confirmed melanoma that is considered surgically incurable with

- Stage IIIc melanoma including locally relapsed, satellite, in-transit lesions or
bulky draining node metastasis.

- Stage IV melanoma (M1a, M1b or M1c). At least 1 lesion amenable for outpatient
biopsies; this should be a cutaneous or palpable metastatic site or a deeper
site accessible by image-guided biopsy that is deemed safe to access by the
treating physicians and interventional radiologists. Patients without accessible
lesions for biopsy but with prior tissue available from metastatic disease would
be eligible at the investigator's discretion.

- MART-1 positive melanoma by RT-PCR or IHC.

- HLA-A*0201 (HLA-A2.1) positivity by molecular subtyping*.

- Age greater than or equal to 18 years old.

- Life expectancy greater than 3 months assessed by a study physician.

- A minimum of one measurable lesion defined as:

- Meeting the criteria for measurable disease according to Response Evaluation
Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST).

- Skin lesion(s) selected as non-completely biopsied target lesion(s) that can be
accurately measured and recorded by color photography with a ruler to document
the size of the target lesion(s).

- No restriction based on prior treatments.

- ECOG performance status (PS) 0 or 1.

- Adequate bone marrow and hepatic function determined within 30-60 days prior to
enrollment, defined as:

- Absolute neutrophil count >= 1.5 x 109 cells/L.

- Platelets >= 100 x 109/L.

- Hemoglobin >= 10 g/dL.

- Aspartate and alanine aminotransferases (AST, ALT) =< 2.5 x ULN (=< 5 x ULN, if
documented liver metastases are present).

- Total bilirubin =< 2 x ULN (except patients with documented Gilbert's syndrome).

- Creatinine < 2 mg/dl (or a glomerular filtration rate > 60).

- Must be willing and able to accept at least two leukapheresis procedures.

- Must be willing and able to accept at least two tumor biopsies.

- Must be willing and able to provide written informed consent.

- Patients with HLA-A*0205 (HLA-A2.5) positivity by molecular subtyping may be eligible
if there is demonstration that they can correctly present the MART-126-35 epitope as
stimulators for IFN-gamma production by MART-1 F5 TCR transgenic cells.

Exclusion Criteria

- Previously known hypersensitivity to any of the agents used in this study.

- Received systemic treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy, within one month
prior to initiation of dosing within this protocol. However, cell harvesting by
leukapheresis may be performed before one month from prior therapy if the study
investigators consider that it will not have a detrimental impact on the generation
of the two cell therapies in this protocol.

- History of, or significant evidence of risk for, chronic inflammatory or autoimmune
disease (eg, Addison's disease, multiple sclerosis, Graves disease, Hashimoto's
thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic
lupus erythematosus, hypophysitis, pituitary disorders, etc.). Patients will be
eligible if prior autoimmune disease is not deemed to be active (e.g. fibrotic damage
of the thyroid after thyroiditis or its treatment, with stable thyroid hormone
replacement therapy). Vitiligo will not be a basis for exclusion.

- History of inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, or other chronic
gastrointestinal conditions associated with diarrhea or bleeding, or current acute
colitis of any origin.

- Potential requirement for systemic corticosteroids or concurrent immunosuppressive
drugs based on prior history or received systemic steroids within the last 4 weeks
prior to enrollment (inhaled or topical steroids at standard doses are allowed).

- HIV seropositivity or other congenital or acquired immune deficiency state, which
would increase the risk of opportunistic infections and other complications during
chemotherapy-induced lymphodepletion. If there is a positive result in the infectious
disease testing that was not previously known, the patient will be referred to their
primary physician and/or infectious disease specialist.

- Hepatitis B or C seropositivity with evidence of ongoing liver damage, which would
increase the likelihood of hepatic toxicities from the chemotherapy conditioning
regimen and supportive treatments. If there is a positive result in the infectious
disease testing that was not previously known, the patient will be referred to their
primary physician and/or infectious disease specialist.

- Dementia or significantly altered mental status that would prohibit the understanding
or rendering of informed consent and compliance with the requirements of this

- Clinically active brain metastases. Radiological documentation of absence of active
brain metastases at screening is required for all patients. Prior evidence of brain
metastasis successfully treated with surgery or radiation therapy will not be
exclusion for participation as long as they are deemed under control at the time of
study enrollment.

- Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Female patients must be surgically sterile or be
postmenopausal for two years, or must agree to use effective contraception during the
period of treatment and 6 months after. All female patients with reproductive
potential must have a negative pregnancy test (serum/urine) within 14 days from
starting the conditioning chemotherapy. The definition of effective contraception
will be based on the judgment of the study investigators.

- Since IL-2 is administered following cell infusion:

- Patients will be excluded if they have a history of clinically significant ECG
abnormalities, symptoms of cardiac ischemia or arrhythmias and have a left
ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 45% on a cardiac stress test (stress
thallium, stress MUGA, dobutamine echocardiogram, or other stress test).

- Similarly, patients who are 50 years old with a baseline LVEF < 45% will be

- Patients with ECG results of any conduction delays (PR interval >200ms, QTC >
480ms), sinus bradycardia (resting heart rate <50 beats per minute), sinus
tachycardia (HR>120 beats per minute) will be evaluated by a cardiologist prior
to starting the trial. Patients with any arrhythmias, including atrial
fibrillation/atrila flutter, excessive ectopy (defined as >20 PVCs per minute),
ventricular tachycardia, 3rd degree heart block will be excluded from the study
unless cleared by a cardiologist.

- Patients with pulmonary function test abnormalities as evidenced by a FEV1/FVC<
70% of predicted for normality will be excluded.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Outcome Measure:

Response rate: The two-stage phase II study design includes response rate by RECIST criteria as the primary endpoint.

Outcome Time Frame:

3 months

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Antoni Ribas, MD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

University of California, Los Angeles


United States: Food and Drug Administration

Study ID:




Start Date:

October 2009

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Metastatic Melanoma
  • Adoptive transfer therapy
  • Dendritic cell vaccines
  • Melanoma



University of California Los Angeles, David Geffen School of MedicineLos Angeles, California  90095