Interleukin-2 is a standard treatment for patients with metastatic renal cell cancer. However, the optimal dose and schedule of interleukin-2 is not known. There is also little information about the long-term outcomes of patients with metastatic renal cell cancer treated with interleukin-2.

Physicians at the University of Washington treated 123 patients with metastatic renal cell cancer with high doses of interleukin-2 with or without infusion of lymphokine-activated killer cells. Nine patients (7%) achieved a complete response and 14 (11%) a partial response. Patients survived, on average, 19 months and survival beyond 5 years was 20%. Seven of the 9 patients with a complete response remain without evidence of cancer recurrence at 43-109 months. One patient died of treatment toxicity.

These physicians concluded that continuous infusion of interleukin-2 was less toxic than more rapid infusion of interleukin-2. This study also demonstrates the relatively low complete response rate has not changed over the past decade of research in the treatment of metastatic renal cell cancer.

(Cancer Journal of the Scientific American; Vol 3, Suppl 1, pp 85-90, 1997)

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