Increased expression of perforin and granzyme B genes in patients with metastatic melanoma treated with recombinant interleukin-2

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1994 Jul;39(1):53-8. doi: 10.1007/BF01517181.


The frequency of peripheral blood cells expressing the perforin gene or the granzyme B gene was evaluated by in situ hybridization in nine patients suffering from metastatic melanoma and treated with recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2). A spontaneous expression of both genes was detected in five to seven patients. rIL-2 administration increased the frequency of positive cells in all patients (P < 0.03 for each gene), the highest frequency being reached in the patients who already expressed these genes prior to rIL-2 treatment (P < 0.02). Expressions of the granzyme B gene and of the perforin gene were strongly correlated before IL-2 treatment and they were similarly affected by rIL-2 administration. In contrast, their modification under treatment did not correlate with that of CD56+ cell counts, of natural killer activity and of sCD8 release. This indicates that perforin and granzyme B gene expressions are markers of cytotoxic cell activation independent of those previously described, and that they should be further evaluated in patients with malignancies to delineate their potential value in predicting clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • CD8 Antigens / physiology
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Granzymes
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interleukin-2 / therapeutic use*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / physiology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Perforin
  • Phenotype
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Solubility


  • CD8 Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Perforin
  • GZMB protein, human
  • Granzymes
  • Serine Endopeptidases