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Treatment of stage III–IV nasopharyngeal carcinomas by external beam irradiation and local low doses of IL-2

Abstract

The therapeutic effect of intratumoural application of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) was studied in patients with stage III–IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) that received radiotherapy. Patients with stage III–IV NPC receiving a standard treatment of 7,000 cGy external beam irradiation have a mean disease-free survival of about 1.5 years. In this paper, we describe ten of these patients who were treated with additional peritumoural and intratumoural injections with 3×104 U IL-2 on 5 days in weeks 2, 4, and 6 of the 7-weeks’ irradiation period. This combined treatment group was compared with a historical group of patients treated with standard irradiation alone. Local IL-2 therapy showed a marked clinical and statistical significant improvement of disease-free survival. After 5 years, 63% of the IL-2 treated patients were disease-free versus 8% of the control patients. These results suggest that the therapeutic results of radiotherapy can be significantly improved by combining it with local IL-2 treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical report showing that local IL-2 therapy is effective against an infiltrative and locally metastasizing tumour in human patients.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Nanny Scheepmaker for data management. IL-2 was a kind gift from Chiron (Amsterdam).

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Correspondence to Willem Den Otter.

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Jacobs, J.J.L., Hordijk, G.J., Jürgenliemk-Schulz, I.M. et al. Treatment of stage III–IV nasopharyngeal carcinomas by external beam irradiation and local low doses of IL-2. Cancer Immunol Immunother 54, 792–798 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-004-0641-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-004-0641-6

Keywords

  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Interleukin-2
  • Human cancer
  • Local IL-2
  • Radiotherapy