Interleukin-2-based therapy for metastatic renal cell cancer: The cytokine working group experience, 1989-1997

Janice P. Dutcher, Michael Atkins, Richard Fisher, Geoffrey Weiss, Kim Margolin, Fred Aronson, Jeffrey Sosman, Michael Lotze, Michael Gordon, Theodore Logan, James Mier

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PURPOSE: 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. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 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-α (rIFN-α). A second phase II study, initiated in 1992, tested the safety and efficacy of moderate-dose subcutaneous rIL-2 plus subcutaneous rIFN-α in the outpatient setting. The third trial, initiated in 1995, investigated a regimen consisting of the previous subcutaneous rIL-2 plus rIFN-α regimen alternating with intravenous bolus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus subcutaneous rIFN-α. Median follow-up for these studies is 72 months, 48 months, and 24 months, respectively. RESULTS: 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-α, 17% with outpatient subcutaneous rIL-2/rIFN-α, and 16% with outpatient rIL-2/rIFN-α, plus 5-FU/rIFN-α). 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 mouths, respectively, with each of the other regimens. CONCLUSION: 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-α). The Cytokine Working Group is currently conducting such a study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S73-S78
JournalCancer Journal from Scientific American
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997



  • Interferon
  • Interleukin-2
  • Renal cell cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Dutcher, J. P., Atkins, M., Fisher, R., Weiss, G., Margolin, K., Aronson, F., Sosman, J., Lotze, M., Gordon, M., Logan, T., & Mier, J. (1997). Interleukin-2-based therapy for metastatic renal cell cancer: The cytokine working group experience, 1989-1997. Cancer Journal from Scientific American, 3(SUPPL. 1), S73-S78.