Interleukin-2, interferon-alpha and medroxyprogesterone acetate in metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Anticancer Res. 2002 Sep-Oct;22(5):3045-51.


Background: Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) are the main immuno-biological agents used in the therapy of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Unfortunately the promising results obtained in biological studies have not yet been confirmed in clinical studies. One reason is linked to the immunosuppression of metastatic patients which is caused by macrophage products. IL-6 in particular is considered a growth factor for RCC. Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) may interfere with IL-6 macrophage production, possibly causing a synergistic effect in association with IL-2 and IFN-alpha. Therefore the purpose of our study was to evaluate the toxicity and the efficacy of the association between IL-2, IFN-alpha and MPA.

Patients and methods: Forty-two consecutive patients with metastatic RCC were enrolled. IL-2 was administered subcutaneously at doses of 4.5 million UI on days 1-5, 8-12, 15-19 and 22-26; IFN-alpha was administered s.c. at a dose of 3 million t.t.w; MPA was administered orally at a dose of 1000 mg daily. This schedule was repeated after a rest of 2 weeks.

Results: Toxicity was mild: the main symptoms observed were fatigue and fever. Six CR (14%), five PR (12%), thirteen SD (31%) and seventeen PD (41%) were observed for an overall response rate of 26%. Patients with good PS and low levels of CRP had a better prognosis.

Conclusion: Considering both the good activity and the low toxicity of this scheme, we think that it could be carried out in normal clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / blood
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Kidney Neoplasms / blood
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Survival Rate


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate