Background: Head-and-neck cancer is associated with impaired cell-mediated immune reactivity. A rabbit model with VX2 Squamous Cell Carcinoma transplanted into both auricles was used to test the effects of a regimen for local Interleukin 2 (IL-2) therapy, optimal in murine tumour models.
Materials and methods: Peri-tumoural IL-2 treatment started when one of the tumours exceeded 2 cm2 and consisted of 100,000 or 300,000 Chiron Units IL-2 or only solvent during 5 consecutive days.
Results: In 4 out of 12 (33%) rabbits the treated primary tumours regressed completely, simultaneously with the non-treated contra-lateral tumours. Also metastases in draining lymph nodes of both treated and untreated primary tumours regressed in three of these animals. Tumour cells injected in the cured animals were rejected. The histology of the regressing tumours in cured cases showed an active granulomatous reaction with a histiocytic response, splitting up of tumour islands, and fibrinoid obstruction of blood vessels.
Conclusion: These findings showed local and systemic therapeutic effects of this local IL-2 regimen in a VX2 head-and-neck cancer model.