Phase 1 study of interleukin-12 in combination with rituximab inpatients with B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Stephen M. Ansell, Thomas E. Witzig, Paul J. Kurtin, Jeff A. Sloan, Diane F. Jelinek, Kyle G. Howell, Svetomir N. Markovic, Thomas M. Habermann, George G. Klee, Pamela J. Atherton, Charles Erlichman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Rituximab is a chimeric murine/human monoclonal antibody that binds to CD20 on B lymphocytes. Although binding of the Fab domain may induce apoptosis, the Fc domain recruits immune effector functions to mediate cell lysis. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) facilitates cytolytic T-cell responses,enhances the lytic activity of natural killer (NK) cells, and induces the secretion of interferon γ (IFN-γ) by both T and NK cells. Therefore, the hypothesis was considered that combining IL-12 with rituximab would augment the immune-mediated cell lysis induced by rituximab. A phase 1 study of IL-12 in combination with rituximab was conducted in 43 adults with B-cell lymphoma to determine the optimal immunologic dose of this combination. Rituximab was administered at a dose of 375 mg/m2 by intravenous infusion weekly for 4 weeks, and IL-12 was given subcutaneously twice weekly. The starting dose of IL-12 was 30 ng/kg and this was escalated to 500 ng/kg. Constitutional symptoms and liver enzyme elevations at 500ng/kg of IL-12 were dose limiting. A greater than 20-fold increase in the serum levels of IFN-γ and a 2.5 to 5-fold increase in inducible protein 10 (IP-10) levels was seen at IL-12 doses of 100 ng/kg or greater.Objective responses occurred in 29 of the 43 patients (69%), with 8 of 11 complete responses seen at IL-12 doses of 300 ng/kg or greater. The optimal immunologic dose of IL-12 in combination with rituximab was determined to be 300 ng/kg subcutaneously twice weekly starting on day 2. These data suggest that IL-12 and rituximab is an active combination and further studies of this combination in B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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