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.