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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phase I evaluation of recombinant interleukin-2 in patients with advanced malignant disease.

Seventeen patients with refractory malignant tumors were treated with recombinant human interleukin-2 (IL-2) administered by weekly bolus intravenous (IV) injection in a phase I dose escalation trial. Patients received 10,000 to 1,000,000 U/m2 per injection over a course of 3 to 33 weeks. Toxicity was dose related and consisted primarily of fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Hypotension was observed at doses of 500,000 U/m2 or higher and in one instance was sufficiently severe to require pressors. No tumor regression was seen and all patients eventually developed progressive disease. Blood levels of cortisol, ACTH, prolactin, and growth hormone as well as the acute phase reactant C-reactive protein (CRP) increased after the administration of IL-2 in most patients. Serum IL-2 levels in excess of 250 U/mL were detected five minutes after an IV injection of 1,000,000 U/m2, after which the levels declined with a half-life of approximately 25 minutes. No alteration in lymphocyte surface phenotype or enhancement in natural cell-mediated cytotoxicity against natural killer (NK)-sensitive and resistant tumor cell lines was observed when these parameters were measured weekly just before the IL-2 injections. However, a dramatic but transient decline in circulating lymphocytes and NK activity was noted within hours of receiving IL-2. This effect was independent of fever and was not abrogated by pretreatment with ibuprofen or metyrapone. The majority of patients developed serum IgG antibodies of IL-2 detectable with a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and a nitrocellulose dot blot assay. The development of anti-IL-2 antibodies was not associated with symptoms suggestive of serum sickness, reductions in serum complement levels, or deterioration in lymphocyte tumoricidal activity. This investigation provides insight into the in vivo actions of this potent biological response modifier and will assist in the design of future studies with IL-2 administered alone or in conjunction with other treatment modalities.[1]


  1. Phase I evaluation of recombinant interleukin-2 in patients with advanced malignant disease. Atkins, M.B., Gould, J.A., Allegretta, M., Li, J.J., Dempsey, R.A., Rudders, R.A., Parkinson, D.R., Reichlin, S., Mier, J.W. J. Clin. Oncol. (1986) [Pubmed]
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