The use of interleukin-2 and lymphokine-activated killer cells for the treatment of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

J Clin Oncol. 1992 Jan;10(1):33-40. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1992.10.1.33.


Purpose: The study was undertaken to assess whether immunotherapy regimens with bolus high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) alone or with lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells are active in previously treated, relapsed patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Patients and methods: Nineteen patients with low- or intermediate-grade lymphomas were treated with bolus high-dose IL-2 alone (11 patients) or IL-2 with LAK cells (eight patients). IL-2 was administered by intravenous bolus infusion at 720,000 IU/kg every 8 hours. Eight patients had low-grade histologies; 11 patients were intermediate-grade. Eighteen patients had received second- or third-generation combination chemotherapy, and eight had also received radiation. All 19 relapsed after a median of two chemotherapy regimens.

Results: Four responses were observed, three partial and one complete, in patients with follicular histologies who received IL-2 with LAK cells. Response durations were 10, 16, 16, and 26 months, and three responders were re-treated after relapse with subsequent disease control for an additional 16, 39+, and 2+ months, respectively.

Conclusion: High-dose, bolus IL-2-based immunotherapy with LAK cells may be an effective treatment for patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and merits further testing with larger numbers of patients in phase II trials.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / transplantation*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Interleukin-2