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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.
To test the hypothesis that low-dose recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEpo) would be effective and safe therapy for the anemia of end-stage renal failure, we studied 37 chronic hemodialysis patients for 3 months before and 6 months after beginning treatment with r-HuEpo, 3,000 U, administered initially intravenously (IV) three times weekly. Hematocrit increased from a mean of 25.2 vol% into the target range (mean, 32.2 vol%, a 28% increase) by 4 months. Transfusion requirements were dramatically reduced. Eight patients (22%) had exacerbated or new development of hypertension, while in trials using higher doses this occurred in 35%. Vascular access thrombosis, dialyzer clotting, and seizures were not seen more frequently during r-HuEpo therapy. Dialyzer reuse was not affected. Low-dose r-HuEpo therapy is effective in most hemodialysis patients and may be associated with less adverse effects because of the slower increase in blood viscosity. As targets are reached, downward dosage adjustments need to be smaller when using an initial low-dose regimen.
After mid-1987 fewer than the expected number of cases of AIDS were reported in the United States in some demographic and transmission groups but not in others. Gay men (regardless of intravenous drug use), adults with hemophilia, and transfusion recipients exhibited fewer cases than expected based on previously reliable models. These favorable trends could not be explained by assuming earlier cessation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Favorable AIDS incidence trends were not found in heterosexual intravenous drug users or in persons infected through heterosexual contact. White gay men from New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco experienced markedly favorable trends, whereas little changes was observed for nonwhite gay men from nonurban areas. AIDS incidence trends were quantitatively consistent with the fraction of AIDS-free persons with severe immunodeficiency who received zidovudine in three cohorts. Gay men in San Francisco used zidovudine more frequently than did adults with hemophilia, while little was used by intravenous drug users in New York City. Data describing the initial national distribution of zidovudine (March 31-September 18, 1987) indicated relatively high use by patients with severe immunodeficiency in those groups, such as urban white gay men, that subsequently experienced fewer cases of AIDS than expected. Available data suggest that zidovudine, perhaps in combination with other therapies, has been one factor contributing to favorable AIDS incidence trends in some groups. Broader application of therapy might further retard the incidence of AIDS, especially in intravenous drug users, persons infected through heterosexual contact, minorities, women, and persons diagnosed outside major metropolitan areas.