A Study of an Experimental Combination of Injections and Radiation Therapy for Advanced Stage Solid Tumors

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"This study is being done to test a new therapy for advanced stage solid tumor cancers involving a combination of radiation and injections."
Age: 18 years or older
Healthy Volunteers: No
Keywords: advanced stage solid tumor cancer, solid tumor cancer, tumor cancer, cancer, NSCLC, non small cell lung cancer, melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
Type: Drug study, Phase [1, 2]
45 Participants
This study is being done to test a new therapy for advanced stage solid tumor cancers. This therapy involves a combination of radiation and injections. It uses an immunotherapy agent (Interleukin-2 or IL-2), given directly into cancerous lesions. This study is being done to see if the new therapy is safe for patients like you.

In some patients, it has been found that infusion of a drug that helps attack tumor cell proteins (checkpoint blockade immunotherapy or CBI) alone is very effective in treating solid tumors. But not all patients respond to CBI alone. This new therapy may offer significant clinical benefit to patients who fail to respond to CBI alone.

This is the first time this kind of study has been offered to patients. It is experimental and there are no guarantees that the new therapy will work to treat your cancer.
This study requires

If you agree to take part in this study, you will undergo tests and procedures to ensure you qualify to join the study. These tests and procedures will be explained to you in greater detail by the study team.

Your doctor will assess your condition at the following time points: - once during the first week of radiotherapy - during each IL-2 injection - every three weeks during the first nine weeks and every 30 days during follow-up o A complete physical examination will be performed. This will include measuring your vital signs (blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse, body temperature), and recording your height and weight o An evaluation of your ability to carry out daily activities

  • Blood samples will be taken:
  • during the first three weeks of treatment
  • during week six
  • every three weeks afterwards until end of treatment o Blood will be drawn for routine safety laboratory tests (including blood cell counts, liver and kidney functions, blood clotting ability, and your thyroid function). •Blood will be drawn to study biomarkers related to immune function and level of inflammation in the body – which will require 2-3 tablespoons of blood each time. You will be asked to undergo a tumor biopsy at week 6.

  • Starting at Week 1: You will be given a checkpoint blockade immunotherapy (CBI) drug called pembrolizumab during week 1 and will continue every three weeks. This drug is given by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes for each treatment. These treatments will last for up to six months.

  • Week 4-6: Three radiation treatments will be given 12–96 hours apart during weeks 4-6 of treatment. Radiation will be delivered directly into the tumor we are treating with IL-2. If you have more than one tumor, only the tumor treated with IL-2 will undergo radiation.e. Your doctor will explain the radiation treatments and your schedule with you.

  • Week 1 and 5: Interleukin-2 (IL-2) will be injected directly into your cancerous lesion 4 times (2 injections on weeks 1 and 5 with each injection at least two days apart), starting 24-96 hours after completion of radiotherapy.

  • Once during weeks 7-9 and every 30 days afterwards, until the end of follow-up, all sites of your cancer will be scanned using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Who can participate

Inclusion criteria:

  1. Adults ≥18 years of age with histologically proven metastatic NSCLC, melanoma, RCC, or head and neck SCC.
  2. Failure to respond to checkpoint blockade therapy or previously responding patients who progress on PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockade therapy.
  3. ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) performance status score of 0 - 1 (Appendix 1)
  4. Presence of a candidate treatment lesion (subcutaneous or nodal lesions are preferable but visceral lesions will be considered) accessible and safe for radiotherapy and serial intralesional injections.
  5. Presence of at least one target lesion (distinct from treatment lesion and outside of treatment lesion radiation field) evaluable for response by irRECIST
  6. Life expectancy ≥ 6 months
  7. Demonstrate adequate organ function as defined in Table 2, all screening labs should be performed within 10 days of treatment initiation. (Note: see protocol for table 2)
  8. No other active malignancy.
  9. Female subject of childbearing potential should have a negative urine or serum pregnancy within 72 hours prior to receiving the first dose of study medication. If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy test will be required.
  10. Female subjects of childbearing potential (Section 5.7.2) must be willing to use an adequate method of contraception as outlined in Section 5.7.2 - Contraception, for the course of the study through 120 days after the last dose of study medication. Note: Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and preferred contraception for the subject.
  11. Male subjects of childbearing potential (Section 5.7.1) must agree to use an adequate method of contraception as outlined in Section 5.7.1- Contraception, starting with the first dose of study therapy through 120 days after the last dose of study therapy. Note: Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and preferred contraception for the subject.
  12. Signed informed consent.
  13. Ability to comply with the protocol.
  14. Systolic ≥80.
  15. No active auto-immune disease and not on therapy for auto-immune disease.
  16. Patients with a history of autoimmune-related hypothyroidism on a stable dose of thyroid replacement hormone are eligible.

Exclusion criteria:

  1. Uncontrolled concomitant disease.
  2. Is currently participating and receiving study therapy or has participated in a study of an investigational agent and received study therapy or used an investigational device within 4 weeks of the first dose of treatment.
  3. Has a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or is receiving systemic steroid therapy or any other form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of trial treatment. Use of inhaled or topical steroids or systemic corticosteroids < 10 mg/ day is permitted.
  4. Has a known history of active TB (Bacillus Tuberculosis)
  5. Hypersensitivity to pembrolizumab or any of its excipients.
  6. Has had a prior anti-cancer monoclonal antibody (mAb) (excluding PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor) within 4 weeks prior to study Day 1 or who has not recovered (i.e., ≤ Grade 1 or at baseline) from adverse events due to agents administered more than 4 weeks earlier.
  7. Has had prior chemotherapy, targeted small molecule therapy, or radiation therapy within 2 weeks prior to study Day 1 or who has not recovered (i.e., ≤ Grade 1 or at baseline) from adverse events due to a previously administered agent. Note: Subjects with ≤ Grade 2 neuropathy are an exception to this criterion and may qualify for the study. Note: If subject received major surgery, they must have recovered adequately from the toxicity and/or complications from the intervention prior to starting therapy.
  8. Has a known additional malignancy that is progressing or requires active treatment. Exceptions include basal cell carcinoma of the skin or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin that has undergone potentially curative therapy or in situ cervical cancer.
  9. Has known active central nervous system (CNS) metastases and/or carcinomatous meningitis. Subjects with previously treated brain metastases may participate provided they are stable (without evidence of progression by imaging for at least four weeks prior to the first dose of trial treatment and any neurologic symptoms have returned to baseline), have no evidence of new or enlarging brain metastases, and are not using steroids for at least 7 days prior to trial treatment. This exception does not include carcinomatous meningitis which is excluded regardless of clinical stability.
  10. Has active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years (i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (eg., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment.
  11. History of severe autoimmune disease.
  12. Treatment with systemic immunostimulatory agents within 4 weeks or five half-lives of the drug, whichever is shorter, prior to enrollment (with the exception of checkpoint blockade therapy).
  13. Treatment with systemic corticosteroids or other systemic immunosuppressive medications within past 4 weeks or 5 half-lives whichever is shorter. Use of inhaled or topical steroids or systemic corticosteroids < 10 mg/ day is permitted.
  14. Has a history of (non-infectious) pneumonitis that required steroids or current pneumonitis.
  15. Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy.
  16. Has a history or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory abnormality that might confound the results of the trial, interfere with the subject's participation for the full duration of the trial, or is not in the best interest of the subject to participate, in the opinion of the treating investigator.
  17. Has known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the trial.
  18. Is pregnant or breastfeeding, or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the trial, starting with the pre-screening or screening visit through 120 days after the last dose of trial treatment.
  19. Has a known history of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (HIV 1/2 antibodies).
  20. Has known active Hepatitis B (e.g., HBsAg reactive) or Hepatitis C (e.g., HCV RNA [qualitative] is detected).
  21. Has received a live vaccine within 30 days of planned start of study therapy. Note: Seasonal influenza vaccines for injection are generally inactivated flu vaccines and are allowed; however intranasal influenza vaccines (e.g., Flu-Mist®) are live attenuated vaccines, and are not allowed.
  22. Patients unable to tolerate checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
  23. Unresolved Grade 3 or any grade 4 non-hematological, treatment-related AEs attributed to prior PD-1/ PD-L1 checkpoint blockade. A minimum of 2 weeks from prior PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockade to initiating study treatment.
Benefits and risks of participating

We cannot promise any benefits to you as a result of taking part in this research study.


The study doctor will discuss the risks associated with taking part in this research study.
You will not be paid to take part in this research study.
Study duration and period
We expect that you will be in this research study for approximately 6 months. After your treatment is completed, you will be seen every 30 days for follow-up treatment and assessment for up to a total of 12 months.
Recruitment period
From Feb. 26, 2018
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
4501 X Street
Sacramento, CA 95817
Marlene Alvarez
Research Topic
  • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Metastatic Melanoma
  • Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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