Changes in cytokine production of breast cancer patients treated with interferons

Cytokine. 1998 Dec;10(12):977-83. doi: 10.1006/cyto.1998.0378.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use*
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Megestrol Acetate / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tamoxifen
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Megestrol Acetate