Subcutaneous interleukin-2 and interferon-alpha 2b in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer: the German outpatient experience

Mol Biother. 1990 Sep;2(3):145-54.


A phase II clinical trial was conducted using subcutaneous recombinant human interleukin-2 (rIL-2, EuroCetus) and subcutaneous interferon-alpha 2b (rIFN-alpha 2b, Essex) in patients with advanced cancer. Safety and tolerance of this outpatient regimen were assessed in 17 patients with progressive metastatic renal carcinoma, 14 of whom were evaluable for clinical response to combined rIL-2 and rIFN-alpha 2b. In this study, rIL-2 was administered every 12 hours, at 1.5 million (Cetus) U/m2 on days 1 and 2, followed by 0.3 million U/m2 5 days per week for 6 consecutive weeks. Concomitantly, rIFN-alpha 2b was given as 5 million U/m2 three times weekly for 6 consecutive weeks. Patients presenting with stable or regressive disease after 6 weeks of rIL-2 and rIFN-alpha 2b (11 of 14) were scheduled to repeat combination therapy. After one treatment cycle, five of 14 patients presented with partial remission; two of these patients achieved complete regression of metastatic lesions. After therapy, six patients have been in stable disease for up to 8 months. toxicity of this regimen was moderate, with local inflammation of the injection sites, grade I-II (World Health Organization criteria) fevers, chills, malaise, nausea and/or vomiting, and anorexia in 70% to 100% of patients treated. After 6 weeks of rIL-2 and rIFN-alpha 2b, laboratory evidence of treatment-related hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism was obtained in one and four patients, respectively. Immunogenicity of sc rIL-2 was mostly limited to the development of nonneutralizing antibodies that occurred in approximately 40% of patients. None of the patients exhibited antibodies specific to rIFN-alpha 2b.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Antibody Formation
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / therapy*
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage*
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Interferon-alpha / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage*
  • Interleukin-2 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / immunology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocytosis / etiology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Thyroid Diseases / etiology


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins