1991 Volume 82 Issue 3 Pages 395-404
Fourteen patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were treated by systemic administration of autologous lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells and interleukin-2 (IL-2). Pulmonary metastases alone were found in 9 cases, pulmonary and mediastinal nodal metastases in 3, and pulmonary and bone metastases in 2. LAK cells, generated by incubation in 2 units/ml of IL 2 for 3-4 days, were intravenously administered once or twice a week. In addition, beginning on the day of the first LAK cell infusion, 1000 units of IL 2 diluted in normal saline were intravenously infused once or twice a day with occasional supplementation of 1000 units of IL-2 on each day of LAK cell infusion. The total number of LAK cells and total amount of IL-2 administered per patient in this study ranged from 0.8×1010 to 6.9×1010 cells and from 3.3×104 to 21.4×104 units, respectively. As toxic effects caused by the infusion of LAK cells, headache, shaking chills, fever and leukocytosis were found in all 14 cases. Side effects possibly induced by IL-2 infusion were tolerable fever, fluid retention (body weight gain of 2-3kg) and eosinophilia. No objective regression of mediastinal nodal or bone metastases was observed. In regard to lung metastases, however, partial and minor responses were observed in 3 and 2 cases, respectively. One of the 3 patients with a partial response was clinically free of disease after undergoing a thoracotomy for resection of residual lesions, but a brain metastasis was detected 10 months after the thoracotomy. The remaining 2 patients are being closely followed up at present. In 3 of 11 patients who showed a minor response, no change or progressive disease, brain metastases were observed during or after the immunotherapy. Furthermore, we examined the possibility of selection of suitable candidates for this therapy on the basis of the degree of in vitro LAK activity against autologous cultured tumor cells in 6 patients, but there was no significant correlation between in vitro autologous tumor cell lysis by LAK cells and the clinical response to immunotherapy.
In conclusion, although a complete response could not be obtained, it can be said that this immunotherapy may be effective against RCC, in particular lung metastases, since a partial response was achieved in 3 of 14 patients. However, it should be taken into consideration that this immunotherapeutic approach may have a risk of increasing the frequency of brain metastases.