Purpose: The therapeutic benefit of the cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells was unknown in the renal cell carcinoma (RCC). This prospectively randomized study was conducted to evaluate the effects of autologous CIK cell immunotherapy in patients with metastatic clear cell RCCs.
Experimental design: From June 2005 to June 2008, 148 patients with metastatic clear cell RCC were randomized to autologous CIK cell immunotherapy (arm 1, n = 74), or interleukin-2 treatment combination with IFN-α-2a (arm 2, n = 74). The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) and secondary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) evaluated by Kaplan-Meier analyses and treatment HRs with the Cox proportional hazards model.
Results: The 3-year PFS and OS in arm 1 were 18% and 61%, as compared with 12% and 23% in arm 2 (P = 0.031 and <0.001, respectively). The median PFS and OS in arm 1 were significantly longer than those in arm 2 (PFS, 12 vs. 8 months, P = 0.024; OS, 46 vs. 19 months, P < 0.001). Multivariate analyses indicated that the cycle count of CIK cell immunotherapy as a continuous variable was significantly associated with prolonged PFS [HR = 0.88; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.84-0.93; P < 0.001] and OS (HR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.48-0.69; P < 0.001) in arm 1.
Conclusion: The data suggested that CIK cell immunotherapy could improve the prognosis of metastatic clear cell RCC, and increased cycle count of CIK cell treatment could further enhance the beneficial effects.