Interleukin-2 for the treatment of solid tumors other than melanoma and renal cell carcinoma

Anti-Cancer Drugs. 17(1):1-12, January 2006. [Link]

Grande, Carlos a; Firvida, Jose Luis b; Navas, Victor c; Casal, Joaquin a


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a lymphokine produced by T cells whose main function is to stimulate the growth and cytotoxic response of activated T lymphocytes. It has been used to stimulate the immune system for the treatment of multiples tumors. This article is intended to review the reports published from 1990 to 2004 on the IL-2 treatment of tumors other than melanoma and renal carcinoma. A literature search was made in various databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE and BioAssay), focused on IL-2 clinical efficacy in such tumors. A selection was made over 150 publications reporting on administration of IL-2 in multiple tumors: lung carcinoma (small cell and non-small cell), colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, ovarian and breast cancer, sarcomas, hepatocarcinoma, mesothelioma, and brain, urological, and head and neck tumors. IL-2 was mainly used in metastatic disease, associated with other immunotherapy or chemotherapy schedules. We conclude that adjuvant IL-2 may be of value in early stages combined with standard treatment for colon and pancreas cancers. In other neoplasms, the indication for adjuvant IL-2 has been sporadic and does not allow conclusions to be drawn. Assessment of the efficacy of IL-2 combined with chemotherapy as treatment for advanced stages is complex, due to the lack of a control, and the variety of dosages and schemes. The activity of IL-2 in monotherapy or in association with immunotherapy is clinically relevant in hepatocarcinoma, mesothelioma and in malignant overflows as palliative treatment. Randomized trials would be required in order to be able to draw conclusions about its indication in other tumors.