Phase I study of the intravenous administration of attenuated Salmonella typhimurium to patients with metastatic melanoma

John F. Toso, Vee J. Gill, Patrick Hwu, Francesco M. Marincola, Nicholas P. Restifo, Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, Richard M. Sherry, Suzanne L. Topalian, James C. Yang, Frida Stock, Linda J. Freezer, Kathleen E. Morton, Claudia Seipp, Leah Haworth, Sharon Mavroukakis, Donald White, Susan MacDonald, John Mao, Mario Sznol, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

417 Scopus citations


Purpose: A strain of Salmonella typhimurium (VNP20009), attenuated by chromosomal deletion of the purl and msbB genes, was found to target to tumor and inhibit tumor growth in mice. These findings led to the present phase I study of the intravenous infusion of VNP20009 to patients with metastatic cancer. Patients and Methods: In cohorts consisting of three to six patients, 24 patients with metastatic melanoma and one patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma received 30-minute intravenous bolus infusions containing 106 to 109 cfu/m2 of VNP20009. Patients were evaluated for dose-related toxicities, selective replication within tumors, and antitumor effects. Results: The maximum-tolerated dose was 3 × 108 cfu/m2. Dose-limiting toxicity was observed in patients receiving 1 × 109 cfu/m2, which included thrombocytopenia, anemia, persistent bacteremia, hyperbilirubinemia, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, elevated alkaline phosphatase, and hypophosphatemia. VNP20009 induced a dose-related increase in the circulation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-6, and IL-12. Focal tumor colonization was observed in two patients receiving 1 × 109 cfu/m2 and in one patient receiving 3 × 108 cfu/m2. None of the patients experienced objective tumor regression, including those patients with colonized tumors. Conclusion: The VNP20009 strain of Salmonella typhimurium can be safely administered to patients, and at the highest tolerated dose, some tumor colonization was observed. No antitumor effects were seen, and additional studies are required to reduce dose-related toxicity and improve tumor localization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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