, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 365-371

Potential uses of interferon α2 as adjuvant therapy in cancer

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Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to provide an overview of the potential uses of adjuvant interferon (IFN) therapy for resected solid tumors at high risk for postsurgical relapse.

Methods: A MEDLINE search (1970–1994) of the English-language literature for original articles, reviews, and abstracts addressing IFN use in the adjuvant setting together with the authors' collective experience formed the basis for this review.

Results: The use of adjuvant IFN-α has been studied most extensively in conjunction with the treatment of melanoma. Fewer data are available on IFN-α use for the treatment of other solid tumors. In melanoma, there is evidence from Intergroup trials (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and World Health Organization) that IFN-α2a given for 1–3 years prolongs the interval to relapse and may have a survival benefit. Trials of adjuvant IFN, with and without chemotherapy, are ongoing in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and colorectal adenocarcinoma. Its value in the treatment of osteosarcoma and high-grade astrocytoma is unknown.

Conclusions: The use of IFN in the adjuvant setting is an exciting area of medical and surgical oncology and has the potential to prolong the time to relapse and to increase survival of patients with melanoma. Its role in the adjuvant therapy of other solid tumors remains to be defined.