Elevations of cytokines interleukin-1, interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor in the urine of patients after intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin immunotherapy

J Urol. 1990 Jul;144(1):59-64. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)39366-7.


In an attempt to elucidate further the immunological mechanisms responsible for the effectiveness of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin in the therapy of superficial urothelial bladder cancer, a prospective study was performed in which the urine of patients was examined before and after 6 intravesical instillations of bacillus Calmette-Guerin for the presence of the cytokines interleukin-1, interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Biological assays such as specific sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used for the analysis of each cytokine. Urinary titers of interleukin-1, interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor increased significantly after bacillus Calmette-Guerin instillation but showed inter-individual differences. The maximum of secretion into the urine was seen between 4 and 8 hours after the instillation, and titers returned to baseline values within 24 hours. The differences in 24-hour secretion between the bacillus Calmette-Guerin-treated (10 patients) and the control (10) groups were significant with respect to all cytokines as tested in both assays each, except for the interleukin-1 biological assay. These results reflect the strong inflammatory response in the bladder wall to bacillus Calmette-Guerin, in which the urinary secretion of the detected cytokines may be associated with the local tumor control.

MeSH terms

  • BCG Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use
  • Biological Factors / urine*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / urine
  • Cytokines
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / urine
  • Interleukin-2 / urine
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / urine
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / immunology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / urine


  • BCG Vaccine
  • Biological Factors
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha