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J Urol. 2000 Apr;163(4):1322-7.

A randomized phase II trial comparing two different sequence combinations of autologous vaccine and human recombinant interferon gamma and human recombinant interferon alpha2B therapy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma: clinical outcome and analysis of immunological parameters.

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Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Department of Surgery, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA.



The clinical observation of spontaneous regression in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the response to various immunotherapeutic therapies strongly suggest a role for the host immune system in this disease. Prior studies showed that sequential administration of interferon (IFN) gamma and IFN alpha to RCC patients was safe. Clinical responses as well as immune changes in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell compartment were observed. Autologous tumor cell vaccines (AV) have also demonstrated activity in renal cell carcinoma. We hypothesize that the addition of AV to sequential IFN gamma and a therapy might improve the tumor-specific immune response by providing an appropriate source of antigen in the appropriate cytokine environment. To our knowledge, this is the first trial using AV combined with IFN alpha and IFN gamma. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of manufacturing and administering (AV) from resected tumor samples, and administration of AV with combination IFN gamma and IFN alpha therapy. Finally, the impact on immunological parameters of these treatment options was assessed.


Patients with metastatic RCC were randomly assigned to receive AV plus bCG along with a sequential administration of IFN gamma and a either together or after initiation of vaccine. Toxicity and clinical responses were evaluated. Modulations of the immune system were investigated by analyzing phenotype, cytokine mRNA expression, T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell compartment.


Fourteen patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma were enrolled in this study; 9 were available for response evaluation. In a 70 day period, 3 (33%) showed mixed responses, 5 (56%) stable disease and 1 (11%) progression of disease. Toxicities were consistent with previous clinical reports. In the flow-cytometry phenotype analysis, stimulation of distinct subsets of circulating T-lymphocytes and a decrease of CD8+ T cell subsets was demonstrated. T-cell proliferation to allogeneic tumor cell stimulation improved following treatment. IL-4 and IL-5 mRNA levels were reduced in all patients after treatment. Patients who responded to treatment did not produce any IL-4 mRNA at all, before or after treatment.


AV with IFNgamma and IFNalpha therapy might induce a MHC class-mediated cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response. We suggest that adequate therapy might direct T cell response toward a Th1 type response. We hypothesize a state of improved immune readiness in patients who might eventually respond to immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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