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Concomitant therapy with subcutaneous interleukin-2 and zidovudine plus didanosine in patients with early stage HIV infection.

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Division of Medical Oncology and AIDS, Aviano Cancer Center, Italy.


A phase II study was performed to evaluate the feasibility and activity of subcutaneous (SC) interleukin-2 (IL-2) administration plus zidovudine (ZDV) and didanosine (ddI) in patients with early stage HIV infection. Between October 1995 and October 1996, 12 patients completed 6 cycles of the following scheduled therapy: ZDV plus ddI and SC self-administration of 6 mIU of IL-2 at days 1 to 5 and 8 to 12 of a 28-day cycle for a total of 6 cycles (24 weeks). After 6 cycles, patients received only ZDV plus ddI and they were observed up for an additional 24 weeks. Our schedule was well tolerated as an outpatient regimen and led to a significant elevation in CD4 count, which lasted for 24 weeks after the end of IL-2 therapy. Moreover, CD4/CD25, as well as CD4/CD45RO and CD4/CD45RA, cell levels were significantly increased at the end of the therapy and remained significantly elevated after 24 weeks. During the 6 cycles, HIV-associated viremia was significantly decreased and, accordingly, we observed a significant decline of proviral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). During follow-up, 10 of 12 treated patients continued to show levels of HIV-related viremia <500 copies/ml. Our results demonstrated that IL-2 and ZDV plus ddI is a well tolerated and effective therapy for patients with HIV in early stages of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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