Lowered serum dipeptidyl peptidase IV activity is associated with depressive symptoms and cytokine production in cancer patients receiving interleukin-2-based immunotherapy

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Feb;24(2):130-40. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(00)00168-8.


There is some evidence that treatment with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) frequently induces depressive symptoms and activation of the inflammatory response system (IRS). There is evidence that major depression is accompanied by lowered serum activity of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV; EC, a membrane-bound serine protease which catalyses the cleavage of some cytokines and neuro-active peptides and which modulates T cell activation and the production of cytokines, such as IL-2. This study was carried out to examine the effects of immunochemotherapy with IL-2 and IFNalpha, alone and together, in cancer patients on serum DPP IV activity in relation to changes in depressive symptoms and the IRS. The Montgomery and Asberg Rating Scale (MADRS), serum DPP IV activity, and the serum IL-6, and IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) concentrations were measured in 26 patients with metastatic cancers before and three and five days after treatment with IL-2 and IFNalpha, alone or together. Treatment with IL-2 with or without IFNalpha significantly suppressed serum DPP IV activity. The MADRS scores were significantly elevated by treatment with IL-2 with or without IFNalpha, but not IFNalpha alone. The immunochemotherapy-induced decreases in serum DPP IV were significantly and inversely correlated with the increases in the MADRS. Treatment with IL-2 alone or combined with IFNalpha also elevated serum IL-6 and IL-2R. There were significant and inverse correlations between the immuchemotherapy-induced decreases in serum DPP IV and the elevations in serum IL-6 or IL-2R. In conclusion, treatment with IL-2/IFNalpha decreases serum DPP IV activity within 3-5 days and the immunochemotherapy-induced decreases in serum DPP IV activity are significantly and inversely related to treatment-induced increases in severity of depression and signs of activation of the IRS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / blood*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / drug effects
  • Depression / blood*
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 / blood
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / drug effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4