Interleukin-2: clinical applications

Semin Oncol. 2002 Jun;29(3 Suppl 7):12-7. doi: 10.1053/sonc.2002.33077.


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a promising immunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, acute myelogenous leukemia, and metastatic renal cell carcinoma. While high-dose IL-2 regimens have shown clinical benefit in the treatment of melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, serious dose-limiting toxicities have limited their clinical use in a broader group of patients. Low-dose IL-2 therapy has produced disappointing clinical response rates in melanoma. While the response rates to low-dose IL-2 have been better in renal cell carcinoma, the quality of these responses relative to those seen with high-dose IL-2 therapy remains a concern. The addition of IL-2 to chemotherapeutic regimens (biochemotherapy) has been associated with overall response rates of up to 60% in patients with metastatic melanoma, but this has yet to be translated into a confirmed improvement in survival. It remains to be determined whether further modifications of IL-2-based regimens or the addition of newer agents to IL-2 will produce better tumor response and survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / immunology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunotherapy, Active*
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / immunology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / immunology
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / immunology


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interleukin-2