Cytokine therapy in renal cell cancer

Jacqueline Vuky, Robert J. Motzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Despite extensive investigations with many different treatment modalities, metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains a disease highly resistant to systemic therapy. The outlook for patients with metastatic RCC is poor, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 10%. Late relapses after nephrectomy, prolonged stable disease in the absence of systemic therapy, and rare spontaneous regression are clinical observations that suggest host immune mechanisms could be important in regulating tumor growth. Interleukin- 2 (IL-2) and interferon-α (IFN-α) have been extensively studied in advanced RCC with responses in the 10 to 20% range. Two randomized trials suggest that treatment with IFN-α compared with vinblastine or medroxyprogesterone results in a small improvement in survival. Prolonged responses with high- dose IL-2 is significant but is accompanied by formidable toxicity. Although the combination of IFN-α and IL-2 compared with monotherapy with IFN-α or IL-2 increases the response proportion, no improvement in survival could be demonstrated in a recent randomized trial. In addition, three randomized trials showed no survival benefit associated with IFN-α therapy given as adjuvant therapy following complete resection of locally advanced RCC. Small numbers of patients exhibit complete or partial responses to IFN-α and/or IL-2, but most patients do not respond and there are few long-term survivors. Clinical investigation of new agents and treatment programs to identify improved antitumor activity against metastases remain the highest priorities in this refractory disease. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalUrologic Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokine
  • Interferon
  • Interleukin
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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