Phase I study of direct gene transfer of an allogeneic histocompatibility antigen, HLA-B7, in patients with metastatic melanoma

A. T. Stopeck, E. M. Hersh, E. T. Akporiaye, D. T. Harris, T. Grogan, E. Unger, J. Warneke, S. F. Schluter, S. Stahl

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142 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the safety, toxicity, and efficacy of direct intratumoral injection of an allogeneic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I gene, HLA-B7, in a cationic lipid vector (Allovectin-7; Vical Inc, San Diego, CA) in patients with metastatic melanoma. Patients and Methods: Seventeen HLA-B7-negative patients were treated with intralesional injection of Allovectin-7. Twelve patients received a single intralesional injection containing 10 μg (four patients), 50 μg (five patients), or 250 μg (three patients) of plasmid DNA. Five patients received two or three injections of 10 μg DNA to a single tumor site at 2-week intervals. Tumor biopsies pretherapy and 2 and 4 weeks after gene injection were obtained to determine expression of the plasmid by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR, flow cytometry, and immunohistochemistry. Results: Toxicities were related to technical aspects of the injections or biopsies. These included pain, hemorrhage, pneumothorax, and hypotension. Two patients were hospitalized overnight for observation. Seven patients (50%) had tumor responses insofar as the injected nodule decreased ≤ 25% by radiologic or physical examination. One patient with a single site of disease achieved a complete remission. Ninety-three percent of the patients' post- gene therapy biopsies contained HLA-B7 plasmid DNA, mRNA, or protein. Conclusion: Intratumoral injection of the allogeneic histocompatibility gene, HLA-B7, in a lipid vector can be performed safely at plasmid DNA doses ≤ 250 μg. The safety profile and biologic activity of this therapy warrants further studies to define the mechanism of action, predictors of response, and antitumor efficacy of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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