Effects of interleukin 2 therapy on lymphocyte magnesium levels

Mark D. McKee, Stacey A. Cecco, Julie E. Niemela, Janice Cormier, Christina J. Kim, Seth M. Steinberg, Nadja N. Rehak, Ronald J. Elin, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interleukin 2 (IL-2) can cause partial or complete tumor regression in approximately 20% of patients with renal cell carcinoma. Among the many physiologic effects of IL-2, decreased serum levels of the divalent cations magnesium (Mg) and calcium have been demonstrated, with corresponding decreases in their urinary excretion. We investigated the effect of IL-2 on lymphocyte Mg levels among patients receiving three different dosing regimens. Twenty-eight patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma were treated with high-dose intravenous, low-dose intravenous, or subcutaneous IL-2 therapy. Serum ionized Mg, urinary Mg, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell Mg levels were measured in samples from patients during treatment and compared with pretreatment levels. Serum Mg and ionized Mg levels decreased for all patients within 12 hours of treatment (P <.005) and remained low for the duration of therapy. Urinary Mg decreased in parallel with serum levels in all patients (P <.005). The peripheral blood mononuclear cell Mg content per cell increased within 24 hours of treatment (P <.005). The magnitude of these changes was similar during the first week of treatment for patients receiving intravenous or subcutaneous administration of IL-2. During IL-2 therapy, lymphocyte Mg increases coincident with serum Mg depletion. Mg availability may have functional implications for lymphocyte proliferation and integrin function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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