In vivo IL-12/IL-23p40 neutralization blocks Th1/Th17 response after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation

Joseph Pidala, Francisca Beato, Jongphil Kim, Brian Betts, Heather Jim, Elizabeth Sagatys, John E. Levine, James L.M. Ferrara, Umut Ozbek, Ernesto Ayala, Marco Davila, Hugo F. Fernandez, Teresa Field, Mohamed A. Kharfan-Dabaja, Divis Khaira, Farhad Khimani, Frederick L. Locke, Asmita Mishra, Michael Nieder, Taiga NishihoriLia Perez, Marcie Riches, Claudio Anasetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


T-helper 1 and T-helper 17 lymphocytes mediate acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Interleukin 12 is critical for T-helper 1 differ-entiation and interleukin 23 for T-helper 17 maintenance. Interleukin 12 and 23 are heterodimeric cytokines that share the p40 subunit (IL-12/IL-23p40). In a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial, we examined the biological impact and clinical outcomes following IL-12/IL-23p40 neutralization using ustekinumab. Thirty patients received peripheral blood mobilized hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from HLA-matched sibling or unrelated donors, received sirolimus plus tacrolimus as GvHD prophylaxis, and were randomized to ustekinumab versus placebo with 1:1 allocation after stratification by donor type. The primary end point of the trial was the mean percentage (%) T-regulatory (Treg) cells on day 30 post HCT. Ustekinumab was delivered by subcutaneous injection on day -1 and day +20 after transplantation. On day 30 post transplant, no significant difference in % Treg was observed. Ustekinumab suppressed serum IL-12/IL-23p40 levels. Host-reactive donor alloresponse at days 30 and 90 after transplantation was polarized with significant reduction in IL-17 and IFN-γ production and increase in IL-4. No toxicity attributed to ustekinumab was observed. Overall survival and National Institute of Health moderate/severe chronic GvHD-free, relapse-free survival were significantly improved among ustekinumab-treated patients. No significant improvements were observed in acute or chronic GvHD, relapse, or non-relapse mortality. These data provide first evidence that IL-12/IL-23p40 neutralization can polarize donor anti-host alloresponse in vivo and provide initial clinical efficacy evidence to be tested in subsequent trials. (Trial registered at identifier: 01713400.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 28 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the following funding support: Gateway for Cancer Research (to JP) G12-900 (inclusive of trial costs and study drug costs), American Cancer Society MRSG-11-149-01-LIB, Moffitt Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA076292 (flow cytometry, analytical pharmacology, biostatistics, and analytic microscopy cores).

Publisher Copyright:
©2018 Ferrata Storti Foundation


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