• Open Access

Phase II multicenter, randomized, double-blind study of recombinant mutated human tumor necrosis factor-α in combination with chemotherapies in cancer patients


To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: lemon781106@yahoo.com.cn; zhangwei@fmmu.edu.cn


We previously prepared a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α mutant (rmhTNF-α) that showed higher antitumor activity and lower systemic toxicity compared with native TNF-α. The safety profile and the pharmacokinetic characteristics of rmhTNF-α were suited for clinical use according to biological Investigational New Drug application, a standard guideline for new drug investigation in China. Here, we evaluate the activity and safety of rmhTNF-α combined with chemotherapies in head/neck, lung, colorectal, stomach, and renal cancer patients. Ninety-five eligible patients received i.m. rmhTNF-α treatment combined with standard chemotherapies. Another 95 patients were treated with standard chemotherapies. After two treatment cycles, one patient achieved a complete response and 24 patients had partial response, yielding an overall response rate (complete response + partial response) of 27.47% in the rmhTNF-α plus chemotherapy cohort. The chemotherapy alone group acquired only a 11.39% response rate (< 0.05). When compared between different cancers, a 48.89% response rate was detected in the 45 lung cancer patients of the combination cohort. The most common grade 1–2 adverse events of rmhTNF-α were drug-related fever, allergy, flu-like symptoms, and myalgia. No significant difference was found in grade 3–4 toxicities between the two cohorts. Based on the results of this research, rmhTNF-α can significantly enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy. An extended phase III trial of rmhTNF-α combined with standard chemotherapy is warranted for evaluating its antitumor activity and toxicity in a larger cohort of tumor patients. The studies in this paper were registered with the State Food and Drug Administration of China (No. 2003S00692). (Cancer Sci 2012; 103: 288–295)