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J Immunother (1991). 1991 Feb;10(1):39-50.

Interferon-alpha 2a in the treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Hoffmann-La Roche, Nutley, New Jersey.


In a series of studies, recombinant interferon-alpha 2a (rIFN alpha 2a, Roferon-A) was administered alone (273 men) or combined with vinblastine (91 men) to patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Patients were treated with daily doses of rIFN alpha 2a ranging from 3 to 54 million international units (I.U.) administered intramuscularly. A dose of 36 million I.U. daily for approximately 10 weeks followed by a three times weekly maintenance schedule with the same dose resulted in the best overall therapeutic benefit. An escalating-dose regimen of 3, 9, and 18 million I.U. daily, each for 3 days, followed by 36 million I.U. daily, produced equivalent therapeutic benefit with amelioration of acute toxicity in some patients. Response was more likely in patients without a history of opportunistic infection or B symptoms (fever, night sweats, or weight loss). Response rate increased with increasing baseline CD4 lymphocyte count and was 45.5% in patients with a CD4 count of greater than 400/mm3. Responding patients with a CD4 count of greater than 200/mm3 had a distinct survival advantage over patients who had similar CD4 counts but whose tumors did not regress with therapy. The addition of vinblastine increased toxicity and did not improve the response rate or prolong survival. Side effects included fatigue, fever, chills, myalgias, headaches, anorexia, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. Mild abnormalities in hematologic and liver function tests occurred in some patients. Most adverse effects diminished or resolved with continued therapy. We conclude that rIFN alpha 2a offers important therapeutic benefit in a select group of patients with AIDS-related KS.

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