Autoimmune thyroiditis following interleukin-2 and LAK cell therapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma: correlation with tumor regression

Tumori. 1991 Aug 31;77(4):339-42.


A 63-year-old woman receiving recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) + lymphokine activated killer cells for metastatic renal cell carcinoma developed autoimmune thyroiditis with clinical hypothyroidism and high titer anti-thyroglobulin and anti-microsomal antibodies. The onset of thyroid dysfunction was associated with tumor regression and resulted in complete response at the end of the treatment. Cytologic and cytofluorimetric studies on thyroid tissue showed two distinct populations, mainly consisting of small lymphocytes and large thyrocytes, and the latter expressed MHC class II antigens. After completion of rIL-2 treatment, hypothyroidism gradually decreased until resolution; complete tumor remission lasted 18 months. Mechanisms underlying the association between autoimmune thyroiditis and cancer regression are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / therapy*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / immunology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / etiology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins