Survival after intratumoral interleukin-2 treatment of 72 melanoma patients and response upon the first chemotherapy during follow-up

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011 Apr;60(4):487-93. doi: 10.1007/s00262-010-0957-3. Epub 2010 Dec 21.


Systemic high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment achieves long-term survival in a subset of advanced patients with melanoma. As we reported previously, intratumoral IL-2 induced complete local responses in more than 60% of melanoma patients. This study aimed to analyze the long-term outcome of 72 patients treated in two prior trials. Melanoma patients (49 stage III, 23 stage IV) with injectable metastases received intratumoral IL-2 injections thrice weekly at individually escalated doses (median duration, 6.5 weeks; median total IL-2 dose, 72 MIU; median number of injected metastases, 10). The observed 2-year overall survival rates were 95.5% for stage III patients with cutaneous metastases only (stage IIIB), 72% for those with combined cutaneous and lymph node involvement (stage IIIC), 66.7% for stage IV patients with disease limited to distant soft-tissue metastases (stage IV M1a), and 9.1% for those with visceral metastases (stage IV M1b and stage IV M1c). Thirty patients who reported recurrence of unresectable distant metastases subsequently received chemotherapy in the further course of disease and showed an overall response rate of 36.7% (16.7% complete responses, 20% partial responses). A high total dose of IL-2 and a dacarbazine/temozolomide-based chemotherapy regimen were variables correlated with a clinical response. In conclusion, patients with cutaneous metastasis without lymph node involvement in stage III and with soft-tissue metastasis without visceral involvement in stage IV showed unexpected favorable survival rates after intratumoral treatment with IL-2. Furthermore, the intratumoral IL-2 treatment seemed to be associated with increased complete and partial responses in subsequent chemotherapies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / mortality*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interleukin-2