A phase I clinical trial was initiated to treat patients with stage IV B-derived chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with the IgG2a murine monoclonal antibody T101. This antibody binds to a 65,000-mol wt (T65) antigen found on normal T lymphocytes, malignant T lymphocytes, and B- derived CLL cells. All of the patients had a histologically confirmed diagnosis of advanced B-derived CLL and were refractory to standard therapy, and more than 50% of their leukemia cells reacted with the T101 antibody in vitro. The patients received T101 antibody two times per week, over two to 50 hours by intravenous administration in 100 mL of normal saline containing 5% human albumin. Twelve patients were treated with a fixed dosage of 1, 10, 50, or 100 mg, and one patient was treated with 140 mg of antibody. It was demonstrated that patients given two-hour infusions of 50 mg developed pulmonary toxicity, with shortness of breath and chest tightness. This toxicity was eliminated when infusions of 50 or 100 mg of T101 were prolonged to 50 hours. All dose levels caused a rapid but transient decrease in circulating leukemia cell counts. In vivo binding to circulating and bone marrow leukemia cells was demonstrated at all dose levels with increased binding at higher dosages. Antimurine antibody responses were not demonstrated in any patients at any time during treatment. Circulating free murine antibody was demonstrated in the serum of only the two patients treated with 100 mg of antibody as a 50-hour infusion and the patient treated with 140 mg of antibody over 30 hours. Antigenic modulation was demonstrated in patients treated at all dose levels but was particularly apparent in patients treated with prolonged infusions of 50 and 100 mg of antibody. We were also able to demonstrate antigenic modulation in lymph node cells, which strongly suggests in vivo labeling of these cells. Overall, T101 antibody alone appears to have a very limited therapeutic value for patients with CLL. The observations of in vivo labeling of tumor cells, antigenic modulation, antibody pharmacokinetics, toxicity, and antimurine antibody formation may be used in the future for more effective therapy when drugs or toxins are conjugated to the antibody.

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