Update on the role of interleukin 2 and other cytokines in the treatment of patients with stage IV renal carcinoma

Michael B. Atkins, Meredith Regan, David McDermott, James Yang, Ronald Bukowski, W. Marston Linehan, Allan Lipton

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128 Scopus citations


Immunoreactive cytokines have been the mainstay of treatment of renal cancer for the past 15 years. Most research has focused on interferon alpha (IFN-α) and interleukin 2 (IL-2). IFN-α has been shown in Phase III studies to produce a modest survival advantage over inactive or non-IFN-containing regimens. Its general tolerability, multiple proposed mechanisms of action, and familiarity have prompted IFN-α to be studied in combination with a variety of agents with potential activity against renal cell carcinoma. These various studies may justify an increased role for IFN-α in the treatment of renal cancer in the foreseeable future. High-dose bolus IL-2 remains the only treatment for stage IV renal cancer approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Food and Drug Administration approval was granted in 1992 based on the ability of this agent to produce durable complete responses in a small number of patients. Unfortunately, the toxicity, expense, and restricted accessibility of high-dose IL-2 make it a poor standard. Regimens involving lower doses of IL-2 either alone or in combination with IFN-α have generally produced fewer tumor regressions of less overall quality. Recent efforts have focused on trying to identify factors predictive of response to IL-2 therapy so that this treatment could be limited to those most likely to benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6342s-6346s
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number18 II
StatePublished - Sep 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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