Lymphokines and cytokines as cancer treatment. Immunotherapy realized

Cancer. 1990 Feb 1;65(3 Suppl):800-14. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19900201)65:3+<800::aid-cncr2820651328>;2-y.


Human proteins with identified effects on host responses to malignant cells have been established as effective therapeutic techniques in cancer. Lymphokines, products of activated cells of the immune system, have pleiotropic biochemical and cellular effects. These include stimulation of immune effector cell proliferation, augmentation of cytotoxicity of immune effector cells for tumor cell targets, enhancement in antigen-recognition potential by monocytes, and modulation of tumor-associated antigen expression on neoplastic cells. Interferons (IFN) and interleukin-2 (IL-2), purified to homogeneity, can induce regression of metastatic malignancy. Recombinant DNA technology has facilitated large-scale production of these and other lymphokines and cytokines. It has also made possible analyses of physical structures of the molecules themselves and has enabled creation of mutated molecules with specific, desired substitutions in their amino acid sequence. Monoclonal antibodies, directed at tumor-associated antigens, can augment antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and can selectively deliver cytotoxic techniques to malignant cells. Molecules that modify the host resistance to malignant disease also have potential to augment effectiveness of other cancer treatment techniques. Lymphokines, cytokines, and monoclonal antibodies, all products of biotechnology, have resulted in fulfillment of the promise of the immune system for inhibition of growth of human malignancy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphokines / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / therapeutic use*


  • Biological Factors
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Lymphokines
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha