A Prospective Randomized and Phase II Trial for Metastatic Melanoma Using Adoptive Cell Therapy With Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Plus IL-2 Either Alone or Following the Administration of Pembrolizumab

  • End date
    Jun 16, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Updated on 24 October 2022
platelet count
metastatic melanoma
systemic therapy
melanoma skin
gilbert's syndrome
neutrophil count
brain metastases
cancer treatment
preparative regimen
hepatitis b antigen
malignant melanoma of skin



Cell therapy is an experimental cancer therapy. It takes young tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (Young TIL) cells from a person s tumors and grows them in a lab. Then they are returned to the person. Researchers think adding the drug pembrolizumab might make the therapy more effective.


To test if adding pembrolizumab to cell therapy is safe and effective to shrink melanoma tumors.


People ages 18-70 years with metastatic melanoma OF THE SKIN


Participants will be screened with:

Physical exam

CT, MRI, or PET scans


Heart and lung function tests if indicated

Blood and urine tests

Before treatment, participants will have:

A piece of tumor taken from a biopsy or during surgery in order to grow TIL cells

Leukapheresis: Blood flows through a needle in one arm and into a machine that removes white blood cells.

The rest of the blood returns through a needle in the other arm.

An IV catheter placed in the chest for getting TIL cells, aldesleukin, and pembrolizumab (if assigned)

Participants will stay in the hospital for treatment. This includes:

Daily chemotherapy for 1 week

For some participants, pembrolizumab infusion 1 day after chemotherapy

TIL cell infusion 2-4 days after chemotherapy, then aldesleukin infusion every 8 hours for up to 12 doses

Filgrastim injections to help restore your blood counts

Recovery for 1-3 weeks

After treatment, participants will:

Take an antibiotic and an antiviral for at least 6 months, as applicable

If assigned, have pembrolizumab treatment every 3 weeks for 3 more doses. They may have another round.

Have 2-day follow-up visits every 1-3 months for 1 year and then every 6 months


  • Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) using autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) can mediate the regression of bulky metastatic melanoma when administered along with highdose aldesleukin (IL-2) following a non-myeloablative lymphodepleting

preparative regimen consisting of cyclophosphamide and fludarabine.

  • Pembrolizumab, a monoclonal antibody that binds to PD-1 and blocks the PD-1/PD-L1 axis, facilitates the activity of anti-tumor lymphocytes in the tumor micro environment. Pembrolizumab administration can result in objective tumor responses in patients with

metastatic melanoma and is approved for use by the FDA for the treatment of these patients.

  • Administered TIL express low levels of PD-1, though PD-1 can be re-expressed on TIL in vivo following TIL administration
  • In pre-clinical models, the administration of an anti-PD1 antibody enhances the anti-tumor activity of transferred T-cells.

Primary Objectives:

  • Determine in a prospective randomized trial whether the addition of pembrolizumab to the standard non-myeloablative conditioning regimen, TIL, and high-dose IL-2 can improve complete response rates in patients with metastatic melanoma who have received prior anti PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Cohort 1)
  • Determine the complete response rate to the standard non-myeloablative conditioning regimen, TIL, and high-dose IL-2 in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not received prior anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Cohort 2)
  • Age greater than or equal to 18 and less than or equal to 70 years
  • Evaluable metastatic melanoma
  • Metastatic melanoma lesion suitable for surgical resection for the preparation of TIL
  • No allergies or hypersensitivity to high-dose aldesleukin administration
  • No concurrent major medical illnesses or any form of immunodeficiency
  • Patients with metastatic melanoma will have lesions resected for TIL
  • Patients will be assigned one of 2 cohorts: (1)
  • patients who are refractory to prior anti PD-1/PD-L1
  • patients who have not received prior anti PD-1/PD-L1
  • After TIL growth is established:
  • Patients assigned to Cohort 1 will be randomized to either receive or not receive pembrolizumab in combination with the standard non-myeloablative conditioning regimen, TIL and high dose IL-2
  • All patients assigned to Cohort 2 will receive the standard nonmyeloablative conditioning regimen, TIL, and high-dose IL-2ACT in combination with pembrolizumab.
  • For those patients receiving pembrolizumab- Pembrolizumab will be administered immediately prior to TIL administration and continue for an additional three cycles following the cell infusion.
  • Up to 170 patients may be enrolled over 3-4 years.

Condition Melanoma
Treatment aldesleukin, cyclophosphamide, Fludarabine, Pembrolizumab, Young TIL, Aldeslaukin
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02621021
SponsorNational Cancer Institute (NCI)
Last Modified on24 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Measurable metastatic melanoma with at least one lesion that is resectable for TIL generation
Confirmation of diagnosis of metastatic melanoma by the Laboratory of Pathology of NCI
Patients must have received at least one prior therapy for metastatic melanoma
Patients with 3 or fewer brain metastases that are less than 1 cm in diameter and asymptomatic are eligible. Lesions that have been treated with stereotactic radiosurgery must be clinically stable for 1 month after treatment for the patient to be eligible. Patients with surgically resected brain metastases are eligible
Greater than or equal to 16 years of age and less than or equal to 70 years of age
All participants and/or their parents or legally authorized representatives must sign a written informed consent. Assent will be obtained for all participants under the age of 18 years
All participants greater than or equal to 18 years of age or older must be willing to sign a durable power of attorney
Clinical performance status of ECOG 0 or 1
Patients of both genders must be willing to practice birth control from the time of enrollment on this study and for up to four months after treatment
Seronegative for HIV antibody. (The experimental treatment being evaluated in this protocol depends on an intact immune system. Patients who are HIV seropositive can have decreased immune-competence and thus are less responsive to the experimental treatment and more susceptible to its toxicities.)
Seronegative for hepatitis B antigen, and seronegative for hepatitis C antibody. If hepatitis C antibody test is positive, then patient must be tested for the presence of antigen by RT-PCR and be HCV RNA negative
Women of child-bearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test because of the
potentially dangerous effects of the treatment on the fetus
Absolute neutrophil count greater than 1000/mm3 without the support of filgrastim
WBC greater than or equal to 3000/mm3
Platelet count greater than or equal to 100,000/mm3
Hemoglobin > 8.0 g/dl
Serum ALT/AST less than or equal to 2.5 times the upper limit of normal
Serum Creatinine less than or equal to 1.6 mg/dl
Total bilirubin less than or equal to 1.5 mg/dl, except in patients with Gilbert s Syndrome who musthave a total bilirubin less than 3.0 mg/dl
have undergone minor surgical procedures within the past 3 weeks, as long as
More than four weeks must have elapsed since any prior systemic therapy at the time
the patient receives the preparative regimen, and patients toxicities must
all toxicities have recovered to grade 1 or less)
have recovered to a grade 1 or less (except for toxicities such as alopecia or
vitiligo). (Note: Patients may
Patients must demonstrate progressive disease at the time of treatment. (Note: Patients who have received tyrosine kinase inhibitors (e.g. vemurafinib) may be treated if they present with stable disease at the time of treatment)
Subjects must be co-enrolled in protocol 03-C-0277

Exclusion Criteria

Women of child-bearing potential who are pregnant or breastfeeding because of the potentially dangerous effects of the treatment on the fetus or infant
Any form of primary immunodeficiency (such as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease)
Concurrent opportunistic infections (The experimental treatment being evaluated in this protocol depends on an intact immune system. Patients who have decreased immune competence may be less responsive to the experimental treatment and more susceptible to its toxicities)
Active systemic infections (e.g.: requiring anti-infective treatment), coagulation disorders or any other active major medical illnesses
History of major organ autoimmune disease
Concurrent systemic steroid therapy
History of severe immediate hypersensitivity reaction to any of the agents used in this study
Grade 3 or 4 Major organ Immune-related Adverse Events (IRAEs) following treatment with anti PD-1/PD-L1
History of coronary revascularization or ischemic symptoms
Documented LVEF of less than or equal to 45%; note: testing is required in patients
Age greater than or equal to 65 years old
Clinically significant atrial and or ventricular arrhythmias including but not limited to: atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, second or third degree heart block or have a history of ischemic heart disease, chest pain
Documented FEV1 less than or equal to 60% predicted tested in patients with
A prolonged history of cigarette smoking (20 pk/year of smoking within the past 2 years)
Symptoms of respiratory dysfunction
Patients who are receiving any other investigational agents
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note