Potential use of IL-2/anti-IL-2 antibody immune complexes for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 Dec;6(12):1323-31. doi: 10.1517/14712598.6.12.1323.


Initially discovered as a potent T cell proliferation factor, IL-2 was soon used for cancer immunotherapy, especially for metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma; however, the severe side effects of IL-2 therapy, plus the negative role of IL-2 in maintaining of CD4+ CD25+ T regulatory cells (Tregs), has somewhat dampened enthusiasm for using IL-2 in immunotherapy. This opinion article discusses the possibility of combining IL-2 with certain anti-IL-2 antibodies for reducing the dose of IL-2 needed and preferentially stimulating effector T cells, but not Tregs, an approach that might provide an improved strategy for anticancer immunotherapy. Alternatively, complexes of IL-2 with other anti-IL-2 antibodies can selectively stimulate Tregs and could, therefore, be useful for treating autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / administration & dosage
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / therapeutic use*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antibodies
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Interleukin-2