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Expression of the low-affinity interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor molecule (TAC) has been associated with lymphocyte activation, in vitro and in vivo [Greene WC (1987) Clin Res 35:439]. We have used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to quantify the role of released and cell-bound IL-2 receptor following in vitro or in vivo activation of human lymphocytes with IL-2. In vitro experiments, culturing fresh peripheral blood lymphocytes in 30 U/ml IL-2 (corresponding to the steady-state IL-2 concentration achieved in patients receiving IL-2 in our clinical trials), showed that the levels of IL-2 receptor released into the culture media exceeded the levels of cell-associated receptor, with both rising in parallel to the cytotoxic activity of the peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) against cultured tumor cells. In 12 patients receiving high-dose IL-2 for the treatment of various malignant neoplasms, the levels of IL-2 receptor released into the serum rose dramatically during the IL-2 infusion, and then fell following cessation of the IL-2 infusion. This heightened release of IL-2 receptor into the serum occurred during the episodes of profound lymphopenia that developed within hours after patients began an IL-2 infusion. Following each 4-day infusion of IL-2, a rebound lymphocytosis was observed, as has been previously reported. Serum IL-2 receptor levels do not rebound in parallel; rather, they reach a plateau near the end of the 4-day infusion and then decrease upon cessation of IL-2. These changes in serum IL-2 receptor levels accompany changes in lytic activity of circulating PBL on Daudi target cells. These results suggest that lymphocyte populations exposed to IL-2 in vivo are activated to become cytotoxic, release TAC, and relocate in non-peripheral blood compartments. Following cessation of the IL-2 infusion these activated lymphocytes return to the peripheral circulation and do not secrete TAC as vigorously as while influenced directly by the IL-2 infusion.
Twenty patients with refractory malignancies were treated with a protocol evaluating the addition of ex vivo-activated autologous lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells to a clinically tolerable interleukin-2 (IL-2) regimen (four weekly cycles of human recombinant IL-2 at 3 x 10(6) U/m2/day by continuous infusion for 4 days/week). Sixteen patients completed their induction month of therapy, two had a partial response, six had stable disease, and eight had progressive disease. Four patients had clinical toxicity preventing completion of the induction month of therapy, and one of these patients died during therapy. Significant clinical toxicities included decreased performance status, weight gain, catheter-related thromboses, infectious complications, fever, hypotension, and dyspnea or hypoxemia requiring oxygen. Thus, the addition of LAK cell infusions to this IL-2 regimen did not cause a noticeable change in antitumor response rate but did not cause more severe toxicity.
Preliminary studies involving small numbers of patients have suggested that interleukin-2 (IL-2) administered by continuous infusion in repetitive weekly cycles using doses of 3 x 10(6) U/M2/day is immunologically active and can induce tumor responses in patients with renal cell carcinoma. This study was designed to examine both the immunological and clinical effects of prolonged infusion IL-2 given by repetitive weekly cycles; first at moderate doses for 4 weeks as an impatient followed by lower doses of IL-2 for up to 5 months. Prolonged IL-2 treatment was investigated because previous studies revealed that patients had a return to their baseline immune status within 4 weeks after completing IL-2 treatment. Twenty-five patients (including 18 with renal cell carcinoma) were treated with one of two regimens utilizing IL-2 as sole therapy. These regimens were designed to induce augmented and prolonged immune activation based upon in vitro and in vivo data. Though patients on both arms of the study demonstrated sustained lymphocytosis, increase in numbers of natural killer cells, and induction of lymphokine-activated killer activity with prolonged IL-2 administration, only 1 out of the 18 patients with renal cell carcinoma demonstrated a sustained partial antitumor response to therapy. Furthermore, several patients demonstrated profound immune activation, without any evidence of tumor regression. The lack of clinical responses in these patients showing marked activation of LAK cytotoxicity suggests that other variables must also influence the likelihood of antitumor effects for patients receiving IL-2 therapy.
A sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma has been isolated from a patient with Stauffer's syndrome. The tumor, designated BA1119, has been established in tissue culture over 80 passages. Subcutaneous deposition of BA1119 in athymic mice induced splenomegaly and hepatic dysfunction which became fatal within four weeks without metastasis. Suramin is a synthetic polyanionic compound which is capable of altering the function of a number of biologic systems and inhibiting the activity of a variety of protein and growth factors. In this study we attempted to study the effect of suramin on growth of BA1119 in culture and in nude mice. Suramin, at 300 micrograms/ml., had a profound inhibitory effect on cell growth during a six-day culture period. Suramin given i.p. weekly to nude mice at clinically relevant doses (200 mg./kg.) caused significant shrinkage of subcapsular tumor deposits. Splenic hypertrophy secondary to BA1119-induced Stauffer's syndrome was inhibited by suramin. Synergistic effect with enhanced cytotoxicity on BA1119 cells was observed when suramin (100 micrograms/ml.) was used in combination with lymphokines, such as gamma interferon (500 units/ml.) and alpha tumor necrosis factor (300 ng./ml.). These results may suggest a therapeutic efficacy of suramin in renal cell carcinoma patients with Stauffer's syndrome.
We studied 41 renal cell carcinomas, classified according to histologic grades G1 through G3, by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) against various integrin subunits, and the basement membrane (BM) components laminin and collagen type IV. Selected cases also were immunostained using the avidin-biotin-complex method. The alpha 3 and beta 1 integrin subunits were detected in tumor cells of all the carcinomas. All G1 carcinomas, like normal tubular epithelial cells, expressed the alpha 6 subunit, whereas it was lacking in 20% and 40% of G2 and G3 carcinomas, respectively. Furthermore, when alpha 6 was expressed, a lack of basally polarized organization of the subunit, coupled with disorganization of the BM components, correlated with histologic grade. Another feature that appeared to characterize the more anaplastic tumors was their high level (80%) of the alpha v subunit expression as compared with its absence in the G1 carcinomas. Stromal myofibroblasts, identified by double-labeling with anti-myosin, were often characterized by the expression of the alpha 1, alpha 3, alpha 5 and beta 1 subunits. These results indicate that changes in integrin expression in renal cell carcinomas may be correlated with their degree of histologic malignancy.