A clinical randomized study was performed on advanced breast cancer patients who were treated by interferons (IFN) beta and gamma in combination with hormonotherapy (Megace or Tamoxifen). Cytokine levels (IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma) and sIL-2R of individual patients before, during (3 months) and after (6 months) therapy were evaluated and correlated to clinical response according to UICC criteria (responder patients-partial or Complete Response versus non-responder patients-Stable/Progression). Decreases in IL-1beta, IL-6 and sIL-2R were associated with clinical response to therapy versus increases in their levels which corresponded to progression of disease. A significant and dramatic increase in IFN-gamma levels was associated with a favourable response to therapy in the IFNs-treated patients, mainly in the group of Tamoxifen. Baseline levels of sIL-2R and of IFN-gamma were prognostic of clinical response and were found to be the most sensitive cytokine parameters for defining the clinical utility of the combination of IFNs and hormonotherapy in breast cancer patients.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.