A prospective randomized evaluation of the prophylactic use of low-dose dopamine in cancer patients receiving interleukin-2

Janice N. Cormier, Ronald Hurst, James Vasselli, David Lee, Christina J. Kim, Mark McKee, David Venzon, Donald White, Francesco M. Marincola, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The administration of high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) causes tumor regression in 17-25% of patients with metastatic melanoma or renal cell carcinoma. Renal dysfunction is a common dose-limiting toxicity of IL-2 administration, limiting 26% of treatment cycles. We have conducted a prospective randomized trial to evaluate whether the prophylactic administration of low-dose dopamine (2 mg/kg/min) can minimize renal toxicity and thus affect the amount of IL-2 administered. Forty-two patients were randomly assigned to receive systemic high-dose IL-2 with standard supportive measures (group A = 21 patients) or with the addition of prophylactic dopamine (group B = 21 patients) at 2 mg/kg/min. For patients in group B, dopamine was instituted 1 h before the initiation of IL-2 administration and was discontinued 6-12 h after the maximum number of doses of IL-2 were given. There was no difference in the amount of IL-2 administered for each course of therapy for groups A and B. Despite differences in urine flow (milliliters per kilogram per day), fluid balance (liters per day), and overall weight gain, prophylactic low-dose dopamine did not significantly alter maximum plasma urea or creatinine levels in group B when compared with the control group (group A). The overall toxicity profile considering all grade 3 and 4 toxicities for patients in groups A and B was comparable. Thus, there is no evidence to support the routine use of prophylactic low-dose dopamine in patients receiving high-dose IL-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Dopamine
  • Interleukin-2
  • Melanoma
  • Renal cell cancer
  • Renal dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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