Interleukin-2 based immunotherapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma with the kidney in place

J Urol. 1999 Jul;162(1):43-5. doi: 10.1097/00005392-199907000-00011.


Purpose: We assessed morbidity, response and survival in patients with metastatic renal carcinoma treated with high dose intravenous interleukin-2 (IL-2) based immunotherapy with the primary renal tumor in place.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively analyzed the records of patients with metastatic renal carcinoma and the primary kidney tumor in situ who were treated at the surgery branch of the National Cancer Institute. Of the patients 607 were treated with IL-2 based therapy. Patient age, sex, sites of extrarenal disease, morbidity, and response and survival rates were examined.

Results: From 1986 to 1996, 51 patients with the majority of disease at extrarenal sites were treated with the primary tumor in place. Treatment involved IL-2 based regimens, reflecting the evolution of immunotherapy at the National Institutes of Health. When evaluating only extrarenal sites, response was complete in 1 and partial in 2 of the 51 cases (6%). No responses were noted in the primary renal tumor. Three patients with responses at extrarenal sites underwent nephrectomy. The duration of response in these 3 cases was greater than 88, 11 and 4 months, respectively. Median survival in all 51 patients was 13 months (range 1 to 86).

Conclusions: Select patients may be treated with IL-2 based immunotherapy with the primary renal tumors in place with morbidity. A randomized study is needed to assess the role of cytoreductive nephrectomy for treating metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Interleukin-2