Transfer of interferon alfa into human breast milk

J Hum Lact. 2000 Aug;16(3):226-8. doi: 10.1177/089033440001600308.


Originally assumed to be antiviral substances, the efficacy of interferons in a number of pathologies, including malignancies, multiple sclerosis, and other immune syndromes, is increasingly recognized. This study provides data on the transfer of interferon alfa (2B) into human milk of a patient receiving massive intravenous doses for the treatment of malignant melanoma. Following an intravenous dose of 30 million IU, the amount of interferon transferred into human milk was only slightly elevated (1551 IU/mL) when compared to control milk (1249 IU/mL). These data suggest that even following enormous doses, interferon is probably too large in molecular weight to transfer into human milk in clinically relevant amounts.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacokinetics*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interferon-alpha