Cyclophosphamide with or without fluorouracil followed by subcutaneous or intravenous interleukin-2 use in solid tumors: A feasibility off-label experience

Giovanni Lo Re, Francesco Lo Re, Paolo Doretto, Alessandro Del Conte, Maria Amadio, Cinzia Cozzi, Maria Maddalena Casarotto, Daniele Maruzzi, Wally Marus, Paolo Ubiali, Paolo Sandri

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BACKGROUND: Immune tolerance seems to correlate with disease progression and T regulatory cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells play a relevant role in immunosuppression. Cyclophosphamide (Cyt) and Fluorouracil (FU) seem to reduce these cell populations. METHODS AND OBJECTIVE: Establishing safety, feasibility, activity and impact on the immune system (neutrophil/lymphocyte [N/L], platelet/L [Plt/L], monocyte [M] and lymphocyte subpopulation (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, HLADR/CD3, Tregs, cells count), CD8/Treg and C-reactive protein (CRP). TREATMENT: 1) Cyt 300 mg/sqm ± FU 500 mg/sqm day (d) 1 and interleukin 2 (IL-2) 18 MUI/sqm intravenous (I.V.) d 4-6, 18-20 or 2) Cyt 300 mg/sqm + FU 500 mg/sqm day d 1, IL-2 4.5 MUI subcutaneous (S.C.) d 3-6, 17-20. The cycle was repeated every four weeks for 2 cycles. Stable or responding patients (pts) continued therapy for 3 cycles. RESULTS: From February 2014 to December 2016, 13/14 pre-treated pts (mean 3 lines) with solid tumors were enrolled. Male/Female: 1/1. The median age and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG PS) was 68 years and 1 respectively. Mean 2 cycles of therapy were administered. G3-4 toxicities presented as diarrhea and bleeding anemia in 2 pts and proteinuria and erhytroderma in 1pt, respectively. Regarding the hematological profile, a more reduction in Plt, less decrease of Plt/Ly, and less increase of Treg with I.V. than S.C. IL-2 administration was observed. However a transient decrease of Treg on day 7 of first cycle in the I.V. IL-2 was reported. RESPONSE: PR 3 (23%), SD 3 (23%), PD 7 (54%). The response duration was 2+ and 3 months in 2 HCC and 18+ months in the pancreatic cancer (PC). Pathological CR was reported in one HCC treated with I.V. IL-2. The median progression-free-survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 1 and 7 months. CONCLUSION: Cyt-FU-IL-2 can be considered safe, feasible and moderately active in heavily pre-treated pts. Plt, Plt/Ly, CD8/Treg and a transient Tregs reduction were observed without significative difference on survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • *Cancer
  • *Cyclophosphamide
  • *Fluorouracil
  • *Interleukin-2


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