Comparative analysis of interleukin 15 and interleukin 2 for induction of killer activity and of type 2 cytokine production by mononuclear cells from lung cancer patients

Br J Cancer. 1998 Sep;78(5):616-20. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1998.550.


Interleukin (IL) 15 is a novel cytokine with IL-2-like activity. In this study, we examined the effect of IL-15 on induction of non major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted killer activity and of type 2 cytokine production by peripheral blood and pleural mononuclear cells (MNCs), from 34 lung cancer patients and 20 control subjects. IL-15 induced significant killer activity in blood MNCs from lung cancer patients as well as control subjects against a small-cell lung cancer cell line (SBC-3). Effective killer induction by IL-15 was observed even in blood MNCs and pleural MNCs from the site of tumour growth in advanced lung cancer patients. IL-12 had an additive effect with a suboptimal dose of IL-15 in induction of killer activity. In the case of MNCs from lung cancer patients, IL-10 production was more prominent when cells were incubated with IL-2 than with IL-15. IL-5 production was observed in MNCs from lung cancer patients stimulated with IL-2, but not with IL-15. These observations suggest that IL-15, by virtue of its lesser induction of type 2 cytokine, may be a better candidate than IL-2 for lung cancer immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / immunology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes, Activated Killer / immunology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2