Fifty patients with advanced melanoma received high-dose bolus and continuous infusion interleukin-2 (IL-2) with lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells in an attempt to improve the therapeutic index of this active but toxic therapy. Treatment began with up to nine bolus doses of IL-2 administered over 3 days. After 1 day of rest, patients underwent daily leukapheresis for 4 days, and the leukocytes were cultured with IL-2 in vitro to prepare LAK cells. Continuous infusion IL-2 was begun 1 day after the last leukapheresis and continued for up to 148 hours; LAK cells were administered on days 1, 2, and 4 of the infusion. Responding patients were eligible to receive up to two additional cycles of therapy at 3-month intervals. Most patients completed each cycle without dose reduction. One patient had complete response and six patients had partial responses (14% response rate). The complete responder and three of the partial responders (8%) remain free from disease progression with follow-up of 21 to 24 months. Of these four patients with durable remissions, one had extensive liver and lymph node metastases, one had lymph node, pleural, and parenchymal lung metastases, and two had disease limited to lymph nodes or subcutaneous tissues. Seventeen patients (34%) required pressors for hypotension, three patients (6%) developed hemodynamically significant arrhythmias, and six patients (12%) developed dyspnea at rest, but none required intubation and there were no treatment-related deaths. Unacceptable toxicity developed in two patients during bolus IL-2 administration and therapy was aborted; both returned to baseline status within 4 days of discontinuing IL-2. Fever, oliguria, and elevated creatinine or transaminase levels occurred frequently but were also transient. Despite less frequent severe toxicity with this modified regimen, these results confirm the ability of IL-2 and LAK cell therapy to induce durable remissions in some patients with advanced melanoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research