Randomized comparison of high-dose and low-dose intravenous interleukin-2 for the therapy of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: An interim report

James C. Yang, Suzanne L. Topalian, David Parkinson, Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, Jeffrey S. Weber, Stephen E. Ettinghausen, Donald E. White, Seth M. Steinberg, David J. Cole, Hyun I. Kim, Richard Levin, Anshu Guleria, Mark P. MacFarlane, Richard L. White, Jan H. Einhorn, Claudia A. Seipp, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: A randomized prospective study was performed to compare the efficacy and toxicity of high-dose intravenous bolus interleukin-2 (IL-2) and a lower-dose intravenous bolus regimen for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Patients and Methods: Between March 1991 and April 1993, 125 patients with metastatic RCC were randomized to receive IL-2 by intravenous bolus every 8 hours at either 720,000 IU/kg (high-dose) or 72,000 IU/kg (low-dose) to the maximum-tolerated number of doses (or a maximum of 15 doses). After approximately 7 to 10 days, both treatment groups were re- treated with a second identical cycle of therapy. Those patients who were stable or responding to treatment 5 to 6 weeks later went on to receive re- treatment with another course (two cycles) of therapy. Response rates and toxicity were determined for the two treatment arms. Results: One hundred twenty-five patients received a total of 208 courses of therapy. Sixty patients were randomized to receive low-dose, and 65 to receive high-dose IL- 2. There were no treatment-related deaths in either arm. There was a greater incidence of grade III or IV thrombocytopenia, malaise, and hypotension in patients who received high-dose IL-2, while patients who received low-dose IL-2 had significantly more infections. Three percent of treatment courses with low-dose IL-2 required vasopressor support, compared with 52% of courses with high-dose IL-2. Patients who received low-dose IL-2 had a 7% complete response (CR) and an 8% partial response (PR) rate, and patients who received high-dose IL-2 had a 3% CR and a 17% PR rate. Conclusion: Low-dose intravenous bolus IL-2 represents an effective regimen for the treatment of metastatic RCC, with preliminary results comparable to those observed with high-dose IL-2. Low-dose IL-2 can be administered with significantly fewer complications, reduced use of vasopressor support, and fewer admissions to an intensive care unit (ICU).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1572-1576
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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