A Four Drug Combination of Retinoic Acid, Interferon, Interleukin-2 and Chemotherapy was More Effective Than Two or Three Drug Combinations for the Treatment of Patients with Advanced Renal Cell Cancer

Patients with untreated metastatic renal cell cancer have an overall average survival of approximately 10 months. Doctors continue to evaluate new chemotherapy and biological therapy treatment programs with the goal of improving these results.

One treatment regimen that has shown promise is the combination of retinoic acid, interferon, interleukin-2 and chemotherapy In order to determine the relative effectiveness of this drug combination physicians in Germany performed a randomized clinical trial. There were three groups of patients in this clinical trial: those receiving the four-drug combination of retinoic acid, interferon, interleukin-2 and chemotherapy. Those receiving the same drugs without the retinoic acid and those receiving only interferon and chemotherapy.

The complete remission rate was 9% for the four-drug combination, 5% for the three-drug combination and 3% for the two-drug combination. The average survival was over 48 months for the four-drug combination, 28 months for the three-drug combination and 27 months for the two-drug combination. These physicians concluded that the four-drug combination was superior to the other two regimens. They further concluded that retinoic acid was an effective drug in combination. Other clinical studies have failed to show this degree of activity with retinoic acid for the treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell cancer but none have evaluated this specific drug combination. (

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Proceedings of American Society of Clinical Oncology, Vol 18, Abstract 1727, 1999)

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