Natural killer (NK) cells are an emerging immunotherapy approach to acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, the optimal approach to activate NK cells before adoptive transfer remains unclear. Human NK cells that are primed with the CTV-1 leukemia cell line lysate CNDO-109 exhibit enhanced cytotoxicity against NK cell–resistant cell lines. To translate this finding to the clinic, CNDO-109–activated NK cells (CNDO-109-NK cells) isolated from related HLA-haploidentical donors were evaluated in a phase 1 dose-escalation trial at doses of 3 × 105 (n = 3), 1 × 106 (n = 3), and 3 × 106 (n = 6) cells/kg in patients with AML in first complete remission (CR1) at high risk for recurrence. Before CNDO-109-NK cell administration, patients were treated with lymphodepleting fludarabine/cyclophosphamide. CNDO-109-NK cells were well tolerated, and no dose-limiting toxicities were observed at the highest tested dose. The median relapse-free survival (RFS) by dose level was 105 (3 × 105), 156 (1 × 106), and 337 (3 × 106) days. Two patients remained relapse-free in post-trial follow-up, with RFS durations exceeding 42.5 months. Donor NK cell microchimerism was detected on day 7 in 10 of 12 patients, with 3 patients having evidence of donor cells on day 14 or later. This trial establishes that CNDO-109-NK cells generated from related HLA haploidentical donors, cryopreserved, and then safely administered to AML patients with transient persistence without exogenous cytokine support. Three durable complete remissions of 32.6 to 47.6+ months were observed, suggesting additional clinical investigation of CNDO-109-NK cells for patients with myeloid malignancies, alone or in combination with additional immunotherapy strategies, is warranted.
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Financial disclosure: T.A.F. is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01CA205239).
© 2018 The American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
- Acute myeloid leukemia
- CNDO-109–activated natural killer cells