Wednesday, April 4, 2012 (Last Updated: 04/05/2012)WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with advanced cancer, a combination of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) and 13-cis retinoic acid (RA) increases natural killer (NK) cells, decreases expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and improves overall survival (OS), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.
Francesco Recchia, M.D., from the Civilian Hospital in Avezzano, Italy, and colleagues evaluated the IL-2/RA regimen in 500 patients with advanced cancer. Participants who had clinical benefit from chemotherapy were treated with IL-2 and RA during the course of one year, and therapy was continued intermittently for five years or until progression.
During a median follow-up of 60 months, the researchers identified a significant increase in NK cells and decrease of VEGF from baseline, post-chemotherapy values. The 15-year disease-free survival and OS rates were 32.6 and 36.8 percent, respectively. There was a significant improvement seen in the five-year OS rates, with respect to National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results data, for breast cancer (42.7 versus 23.3 percent); lung cancer (26.4 versus 3.6 percent); colorectal cancer (43.6 versus 11.7 percent); and renal cancer (23 versus 11 percent). No cases of grade 3 or 4 World Health Organization toxicity were seen; grade 2 cutaneous toxicity and triglyceride elevation were seen in some patients, and one patient had to cease treatment due to grade 2 urticaria.
"All types of cancer treated had a benefit from this immunotherapy regimen: ovarian cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, cardiac metastases of sarcoma, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, renal cell carcinoma, melanoma, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and recurrent ovarian cancer," Recchia said in a statement.
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