Neuropsychiatric manifestations of human leukocyte interferon therapy in patients with cancer

JAMA. 1984 Aug 17;252(7):938-41.


The conditions of ten patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma were serially evaluated by neuropsychiatric examination to determine the nature of the fatigue-asthenia symptoms resulting from human leukocyte interferon alpha therapy. The majority of the patients had moderate to severe behavioral changes and mild to moderate cognitive, affective, and personality changes within the first week of daily intramuscular administration of 3 X 10(6) units of interferon. This descriptive clinical study suggests that the intense fatigue may be a manifestation of a complex neurotoxicity, most suggestive of frontal lobe changes, and resulting in neurasthenia syndrome with reversible impairment of some higher mental functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Aged
  • Asthenia / chemically induced
  • Behavior / drug effects*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Fatigue / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / adverse effects*
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Neoplasms / secondary
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects


  • Interferon Type I