Interleukin 2 therapy: current role in surgical oncological practice

S. D. Heys*, C. R. Franks, O. Eremin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The use of recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL‐2) in clinical practice has opened up new and beneficial avenues in the treatment of certain malignant diseases. Although rIL‐2 can stimulate a range of host antitumour defence mechanisms, only 30–40 per cent of patients who are treated will respond to such therapy as assessed by a reduction in tumour volume. The effect of rIL‐2‐based treatment schedules on delaying progression of disease and on overall survival in comparison with standard current treatments and chemotherapeutic regimens is not clear. Randomized clinical trials are required to evaluate precisely the role of rIL‐2 in various therapeutic combinations and to ascertain the optimum therapeutic regimens for individual tumour types. Studies currently under way should provide more insight into the possible beneficial effects of immunotherapy with rIL‐2. More basic research is required to ascertain how rIL‐2 may produce its antitumour effects and why the therapeutic results obtained in humans have been so selective and less beneficial than those in experimental animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993


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