Kidney cancer: the Cytokine Working Group experience (1986-2001): part I. IL-2-based clinical trials

Med Oncol. 2001;18(3):197-207. doi: 10.1385/MO:18:3:197.


The Cytokine Working Group (CWG) was initially established in 1986 as the Extramural IL-2/LAK Working Group. With funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the CWG was mandated to confirming data regarding the efficacy of the high-dose interleukin-2 (IL2)/lymphokine-activated killer cell (LAK cell) regimen piloted at the NCI in the treatment of renal cell cancer. Since those initial studies, the CWG has conducted a series of clinical trials, often with correlative immunologic investigations, to evaluate combination immunotherapy in attempts to enhance the efficacy of IL-2 or to reduce toxicity. Subsequently, the CWG conducted trials to demonstrate the activity of lower-dose outpatient combination cytokine regimens to help determine their role in the armamentarium of treatment for metastatic renal cell cancer. This has culminated in a phase III randomized trial comparing the activity of high-dose IL-2 with the activity of outpatient IL-2 plus interferon-alpha. The CWG also has honed the management of both high-dose IL-2 and outpatient IL-2 regimens to make these safer in the hands of experienced clinicians. In addition, the CWG has produced a series of carefully conducted clinical trials of new cytokines, again attempting to define their clinical efficacy as anticancer agents. These include studies of IL-4, IL-6, and IL-12. Currently, the CWG is conducting studies with new approaches to IL-2 therapy, as well as planning trials with new agents for treatment of renal cell cancer. This review describes these efforts conducted over the past 15 yr.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / immunology
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated*
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-2