What is the role of interleukin-2 (IL-2) in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC)?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Kush Sachdeva, MD; Chief Editor: E Jason Abel, MD  more...
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Answer

IL-2 is a T-cell growth factor and activator of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. IL-2 affects tumor growth by activating lymphoid cells in vivo without affecting tumor proliferation directly. High-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) can induce durable long-term remission in 10% of patients with advanced kidney cancer, and must be considered for robust patients with excellent cardiopulmonary reserve. This treatment should generally be administered in centers with significant experience in using this agent. Patients who do not have access to high-dose IL-2, who refuse it, or who are not candidates for it should consider one of the approved targeted therapies.


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