Interleukin-2 Immunotherapy Beneficial in Kidney Cancer

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Recent data published in Urology indicate that high-dose interleukin-2 (HDIL-2) immunotherapy evoked “impressive clinical responses” in patients with metastatic kidney cancer.


HDIL-2 therapy, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992, directs the immune system to attack cancer cells. High doses of laboratory-made interleukin jumpstarts T-cell production and antibodies that fight cancer.


The treatment, however, can be dangerous. Rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, and kidney dysfunction are among the potential side effects of HDIL-2 immunotherapy. Consequently, the treatment is reserved for patients deemed healthy enough to tolerate it and is only used in a controlled hospital setting. Nevertheless, this study suggests that more patients may be able to successfully receive this treatment.


For the study, researchers examined medical records from 88 patients with metastatic kidney cancer who received HDIL-2 treatment during 2004 to 2011. Results showed that the therapy was well tolerated, including among patients with preexisting renal impairment, and induced no long-term renal toxicity.


In terms of efficacy, four patients had a complete response rate, 10 had partial response, and 28 had stable disease. Projected 2-year overall survival (OS) was 60.6%, which is similar to those of other IL-2 studies.


Lead author Thomas Schwaab, MD, PhD, from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, concluded that the study shows HDIL-2 treatment can be safely provided, even to patients with chronic renal insufficiency.

Interleukin-2 Immunotherapy Beneficial in Kidney Cancer
Interleukin-2 Immunotherapy Beneficial in Kidney Cancer
A retrospective study published online ahead of print in the medical journal Urology by a physician team from Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that patients with metastatic kidney cancer—even those with chronic renal insufficiency—can tolerate and benefit from a treatment called high-dose interleukin-2 immunotherapy.
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