NK White Blood Cells and Interleukin in Children and Young Adults With Advanced Solid Tumors

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified March 2014 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Cancer Institute (NCI) )
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: June 11, 2013
Last updated: June 12, 2014
Last verified: March 2014


- Natural Killer (NK) cells are white blood cells that are important in helping the body fight viruses and tumors. Studies show that NK cells are important to attack leukemia cells after bone marrow transplants. They have also been shown to kill solid tumor cells. Researchers plan to combine NK cells with an immune-boosting drug called interleukin 15 (IL-15). They want to see if NK cells and IL-15 can be used to treat children and young adults who have solid tumors that have not responded to other treatments.


- To study the safety and effectiveness of NK cells and IL-15 in children and young adults with advanced solid tumors.


- Children and young adults between 2 and 25 years of age who have advanced solid tumors that have not responded to standard treatments.


  • Participants will be screened with a physical exam and medical history. Blood and urine samples will be collected. Imaging studies will be used to monitor the cancer before treatment.
  • Participants will have apheresis to provide NK white blood cells for the study. The NK cells will be collected from the blood.
  • Participants will have inpatient chemotherapy to prepare for the NK cell and IL-15 treatment.
  • After the chemotherapy, participants will receive the NK cells over several days. They will also receive IL-15 to help the immune system respond to the cells.
  • After recovering in the hospital, participants will be monitored closely at home. They will have frequent blood tests and imaging studies. They may also have another apheresis to collect NK white blood cells again for study.

Condition Intervention Phase
Solid Tumors
Brain Tumors
Wilm's Tumor
Biological: Recombinant human interleukin-15 (rhIL-15)
Biological: NK Cell Infusion
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Endpoint Classification: Safety Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Phase I Study of Autologous Activated Natural Killer (NK) Cells +/- rhIL15 in Children and Young Adults With Refractory Solid Tumors

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • MTD & amp; Toxicity [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Toxicity [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Feasibility [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • pharmacokinetics & amp; immunogenicity [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • biologically active doses [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • antitumor activity [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • safety & amp; efficacy of Cohort A [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Estimated Enrollment: 51
Study Start Date: May 2013
Estimated Study Completion Date: November 2022
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
two cohorts, one with only NK cell infusion (dose escalation), and one with NK Cell Infusion + rhIL15 (dose escalation)
Biological: Recombinant human interleukin-15 (rhIL-15)
Administered on Day 0 in combination with NK Cell Infusion (dose escalation: rhIL15 0.25 mcg/kg/d IV x 12; rhIL15 0.25 mcg/kg/d IV x 12; rhIL15 0.5 mcg/kg/d; rhIL15 0.75 mcg/kg/d IV x 12)
Biological: NK Cell Infusion
Infuse expanded NK cells at Day 0 (dose escalation: 1x106 NK cells/kg; 1 x 107 NK cells/kg; 1 x 108 NK cells/kg) after 2 days Cyclophosphamide + Mesna (1800mg/m2), daily filgrastim/pegfilgrastim (5mcg/kg)

Detailed Description:


  • Despite progress, some children and young adults with solid tumors still experience poor survival.
  • Activated NK cells potently kill autologous pediatric solid tumors, and clinical grade procedures are available to generate large numbers of activated NK cells for adoptive cell therapy.


  • Primary objectives are: 1) to assess the feasibility of harvesting and expanding activated NK cells to meet escalating dose goals in Cohort A, 2) to assess the toxicity of infusing escalating doses of activated NK cells following lymphodepleting chemotherapy without rhIL15 (cohort A), and 3) to assess the toxicity of infusing NK activated cells with escalating doses of rhIL15 (cohort B) in pediatric patients with refractory malignant solid tumors.
  • Secondary objectives are: 1) to identify biologically active doses of activated autologous NK cells plus or minus rhIL15 by monitoring changes in NK cell number, phenotype and function, 2) to assess pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity of rhIL15 in a pediatric population, and 3) assess antitumor effects and changes in FDG-PET following administration of activated NK cells to lymphopenic hosts plus or minus rhIL15. 4) to evaluate saftey and efficacy of subsequent cycles of autologous NK cell infusions in patients in cohort A who received benefit from the first NK cell infusion.


  • Patients in Cohort A: 2-29 years with with refractory pediatric malignant solid tumors, Patients in Cohort B: 2-25 years with refractory pediatric malignant solid tumors.
  • Adequate performance status and organ function, recovered from toxic effects of prior therapy, no requirement for systemic corticosteroids and no history of allogeneic stem cell transplantation.


  • All patients receive pre-NK lymphodepleting chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide.
  • Cohort A receives escalating doses of activated autologous NK cells to identify feasibility of generating cells and tolerability, and potentially identify an MTD.
  • A1: 1x10(6) NK cells/kg
  • A2: 1 x 10(7) NK cells/kg
  • A3: 1 x 10(8) NK cells/kg
  • If feasibility and acceptable toxicity is demonstrated for all doses in Cohort A, patients enrolled on cohort B will receive activated autologous NK cells plus escalating doses of rhIL15 using the following schema:
  • B1: 1 x 10(7) NK cells/kg + rhIL15 0.25 mcg/kg/d IV x 10
  • B2: 1 x 10(7) NK cells/kg + rhIL15 0.25 mcg/kg/d IV x 10
  • B3: 1 x 10(7) NK cells/kg + rhIL15 0.5 mcg/kg/d IV x 10
  • B4: 1 x 10(7) NK cells/kg + rhIL15 0.75 mcg/kg/d IV x 10
  • Three patients will be enrolled at each dose level, with the dose level expanded to 6 if doselimiting toxicity occurs. An expanded group of 12 patients will be treated at the highest tolerable dose level. DLT toxicity monitoring will continue for 21 days after the NK infusion, or 14 days after the last rhIL15 dose in Cohort B (whichever is later).

Ages Eligible for Study:   2 Years to 25 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
  • Diagnosis:
  • Histologically confirmed solid tumors, including primary brain tumors. In subjects with brain stem or optic gliomas the requirement for histological confirmation may be waived.
  • Age: Cohort A: 2 to less than or equal to 29 years old at the time of enrollment. Cohort B: 2 to less than or equal to 25 years old at the time of enrollment.
  • Patients must have evaluable or measurable malignant disease at enrollment.
  • Prior Therapy:
  • The patient s malignancy must have relapsed after or failed to respond to frontline curative therapy and/or there must not be any potentially curative treatment options available at the time of study entry.
  • There is no limit to the number of prior treatment regimens. However, patients must have fully recovered from the acute toxic effects of all prior chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy prior to study enrollment. Acute toxicity of any previous therapy must have resolved to grade 1 or less, unless specified elsewhere. Myelosuppressive chemotherapy: Patients must not have received myelosuppressive chemotherapy within 3 weeks of enrollment (6 weeks if prior nitrosourea).
  • Hematopoietic growth factors: At least 7 days must have elapsed since the completion of therapy with a growth factor. At least 14 days must have elapsed after receiving pegfilgrastim.
  • Biologic (anti-neoplastic agent) or metronomic non-myelosuppressive chemotherapy: At least 7 days must have elapsed since the completion of therapy with a biologic agent. For agents that have known adverse events occurring beyond 7 days after administration, this period prior to enrollment must be extended beyond the time during which adverse events are known to occur.
  • Monoclonal antibodies: At least 4 weeks must have elapsed since prior therapy that included a monoclonal antibody.
  • Radiotherapy: 3 weeks must have elapsed since XRT
  • Performance status: ECOG 0, 1 or 2, or for children less than or equal to10 years of age, Lansky greater than or equal to 60. Note: Patients who are unable to walk because of paralysis, but who are up in a wheelchair, will be considered ambulatory for the purpose of assessing the performance score.
  • Cardiac function: Left ventricular ejection fraction greater than or equal to 45% or fractional shortening greater than or equal to28%.
  • Liver function: Serum total bilirubin < 2 mg/dl, serum AST and ALT less than or equal to 3 x upper limit of normal. Patients with Gilbert syndrome are excluded from the requirement of a normal

bilirubin. (Gilbert syndrome is found in 3-10% of the general population, and is characterized by mild, chronic unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia in the absence of liver disease or overt hemolysis). On cohort B, patients with liver involvement by tumor will not be eligible due to potential confounding risk for hepatotoxicity when rhIL15 is administered. NOTE: adult values will be used for calculating hepatic toxicity on this trial, as is standard on POB phase I trials.

- Renal function: Age-adjusted normal serum creatinine according to the following table or a creatinine clearance greater than or equal to 60 ml/min/1.73 m(2).

Age (years) < TAB> < TAB> < TAB> Maximum serum creatinine (mg/dl)

less than or equal to5 < TAB> < TAB> 0.8

> 5 less than or equal to 10 < TAB> 1.0

> 10 less than or equal to 15 < TAB> 1.2

> 15 < TAB> < TAB> < TAB> < TAB> 1.5

  • Marrow function: ANC must be > 750/mm(3) (unless due to underlying disease in which case there is no grade restriction), platelet count must be greater than or equal to 75,000/mm(3) (not achieved by transfusion). Lymphopenia, CD4 lymphopenia, leukopenia, and anemia will not render patients ineligible.
  • Female patients (and when relevant their male partners) must be willing to practice birth control (including abstinence) during and for two months after treatment, if of childbearing potential.
  • Ability to give informed consent. For patients < 18 years of age their legal guardian must give informed consent. Pediatric patients will be included in age-appropriate discussion in order to obtain verbal assent.
  • Durable power of attorney form completed (patients greater than or equal to18 years of age only).


  • Untreated CNS metastatic disease as defined by:
  • Solid Tumors: History of untreated metastatic CNS tumor involvement. Extradural masses which have not invaded the brain parenchyma or parameningeal tumors without evidence for leptomeningeal spread will not render the patient ineligible. Patients with previous CNS tumor involvement are eligible IF the CNS tumor(s) has been treated and has been stable or resolving for at least 4 weeks; and if the patient does not currently require steroids.
  • Prior history allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
  • Breast feeding or pregnant females (due to risk to fetus or newborn).
  • HIV or HTLV-I/II (due to unacceptable risk associated with severe immune suppression and risk associated with cell products).
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive or hepatitis C antibody positive with elevated liver transaminases. All patients with chronic active hepatitis (including those on antiviral therapy) are ineligible.
  • Patients who require systemic corticosteroid or other systemic immunosuppressive therapy. Immunosuppressive therapy must be stopped at least 28 days prior to enrollment. Topical agents and/or inhaled corticosteroids are permitted.
  • High risk of inability to comply with therapy in the estimation of the PI.
  • Clinically significant systemic illness (e.g. serious active infections or significant vital other organ dysfunction), that in the judgment of the PI would likely compromise the patient s ability to tolerate protocol therapy or significantly increase the risk of complications.
  • Prior history of pericarditis


Both men and women of all races and ethnic groups are eligible for this trial.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01875601

Contact: Melinda S Merchant, M.D. (301) 443-7955 merchanm@mail.nih.gov

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact National Cancer Institute Referral Office    888-624-1937      
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Melinda S Merchant, M.D. National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Cancer Institute (NCI) )
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01875601     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 130152, 13-C-0152
Study First Received: June 11, 2013
Last Updated: June 12, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
NK Cells
Lymphodepleting Chemotherapy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Wilms Tumor
Brain Neoplasms
Central Nervous System Neoplasms
Nervous System Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neoplasms, Complex and Mixed
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Kidney Neoplasms
Urologic Neoplasms
Urogenital Neoplasms
Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary
Kidney Diseases
Urologic Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue
Neoplasms, Connective and Soft Tissue

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on July 24, 2014