A Progress Report on the Treatment of 157 Patients with Advanced Cancer Using Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells and Interleukin-2 or High-Dose Interleukin-2 Alone

Steven A. Rosenberg, Michael T. Lotze, Linda M. Muul, Alfred E. Chang, Fred P. Avis, Susan Leitman, W. Marston Linehan, Cary N. Robertson, Roberta E. Lee, Joshua T. Rubin, Claudia A. Seipp, Colleen G. Simpson, Donald E. White

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2475 Scopus citations


We studied the effects of adoptive immunotherapy with lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells plus interleukin-2 or therapy with high-dose interleukin-2 alone in 157 patients with metastatic cancer for whom standard therapy had proved ineffective or no standard effective treatment was available. One hundred eight patients were treated with 127 courses of LAK cells plus interleukin-2, and 49 patients were treated with 53 courses of high-dose interleukin-2 alone. Of 106 evaluable patients receiving LAK cells plus interleukin-2, 8 had complete responses, 15 had partial responses, and 10 had minor responses. The median duration of response was 10 months among those with complete responses and 6 months among those with partial responses; the patient with the longest complete response was still in remission 22 months after treatment. Of 46 evaluable patients treated with high-dose interleukin-2 alone, 1 had a complete response (remission >4 months), 5 had partial responses (2, >3, >5, 7, and >11 months), and 1 had a minor response. Seven of the total of nine complete responses still remain in remission. Hypotension, weight gain, oliguria, and elevation of bilirubin and creatinine levels were common, but these side effects resolved promptly after interleukin-2 administration was stopped. There have been four treatment-related deaths among these 157 patients. This immunotherapeutic approach can result in marked tumor regression in some patients for whom no other effective therapy is available at present. Determining its ultimate role in cancer therapy awaits further attempts to increase the therapeutic efficacy of treatment and decrease its toxicity and complexity. (N Engl J Med 1987; 316:889–97.), WE have previously reported the results of therapy in 25 patients with advanced cancer who were given a single course of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells and interleukin-2.1 This treatment, referred to as adoptive immunotherapy,2,3 involved obtaining lymphocytes from cancer patients by repeated leukaphereses, incubating the cells in interleukin-2 to generate LAK cells, and reinfusing the LAK cells in conjunction with the administration of interleukin-2. Objective regressions of metastatic cancer were observed, as well as toxic effects related to treatment. That clinical trial was based on extensive experimentation in animals2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and on Phase I testing of each method alone in patients….

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-897
Number of pages9
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 9 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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