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Cancer J Sci Am. 1997 Dec;3 Suppl 1:S73-8.

Interleukin-2-based therapy for metastatic renal cell cancer: the Cytokine Working Group experience, 1989-1997.

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Albert Einstein Cancer Center/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York 10467, USA.



This article reviews long-term follow-up data from three phase II studies conducted by the Cytokine Working Group from 1989 to 1995 that evaluated various recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) -based regimens in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer. Response rates, long-term response duration, and toxicity are compared.


The Cytokine Working Group studies reviewed here investigated the safety and efficacy of two high-dose intravenous rIL-2-based regimens and two moderate-dose outpatient subcutaneous rIL-2-based regimens in patients with progressive metastatic renal cell cancer. A randomized phase II study, initiated in 1989, investigated the safety and efficacy of high-dose intravenous rIL-2 alone and high-dose intravenous rIL-2 plus recombinant interferon-alpha (rIFN-alpha). A second phase II study, initiated in 1992, tested the safety and efficacy of moderate-dose subcutaneous rIL-2 plus subcutaneous rIFN-alpha in the outpatient setting. The third trial, initiated in 1995, investigated a regimen consisting of the previous subcutaneous rIL-2 plus rIFN-alpha regimen alternating with intravenous bolus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus subcutaneous rIFN-alpha. Median follow-up for these studies is 72 months, 48 months, and 24 months, respectively.


The overall response rates observed with each of these regimens were similar (17% with high-dose rIL-2 alone, 11% with high-dose rIL-2/rIFN-alpha, 17% with outpatient subcutaneous rIL-2/rIFN-alpha, and 16% with outpatient rIL-2/rIFN-alpha, plus 5-FU/rIFN-alpha). However, the high-dose rIL-2 regimen produced a 7% complete response rate, compared with 0%, 4%, and 4%, respectively, with each of the other regimens. Median response duration was also much longer with high-dose intravenous rIL-2 alone (53 months), compared with 7 months, 12 months, and 9 months, respectively, with each of the other regimens.


Complete response rate and response duration appear to favor the high-dose intravenous rIL-2 regimen. This will require verification in a randomized study comparing the best high-dose arm (rIL-2 alone) with the best outpatient regimen (rIL-2/IFN-alpha). The Cytokine Working Group is currently conducting such a study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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