Interleukin-2 and lanreotide in the treatment of medullary thyroid cancer: In vitro and in vivo studies

Giovanni Vitale, Giovanni Lupoli, Rosario Guarrasi, Annamaria Colao, Alessandra Dicitore, Germano Gaudenzi, Gabriella Misso, Maria Castellano, Raffaele Addeo, Gaetano Facchini, Salvatore Del Prete, Michele Caraglia

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Context: To date no efficacious treatments are available for advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Objective: We investigated in vitro and in vivo a new strategy for the therapy of MTC, combining human recombinant IL-2 with lanreotide (LAN), a somatostatin analog. Methods: The in vitro effects of LAN on the sensitivity of TT cells, a MTC cell line, to IL-2-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were determined by a lactate dehydrogenase release assay. In addition, we evaluated the toxicity, the effects on quality of life, and the antitumor activity of sc low-dose IL-2 in combination with LAN (90 mg every 28 days) in a series of 6 patients with symptomatic and advanced MTC. Results: The cytotoxicity of IL-2-activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly increased in TT cells treated with LAN or LAN plus IL-2 compared with that in TT cells without treatment. The therapy was well tolerated, and a statistically significant improvement of quality of life was observed in patients treated with the combination of LAN and IL-2. After 6 months of therapy, partial response and stable disease have been recorded in 2 and 3 patients, respectively, with a significant decrease in calcitonin levels in 3 patients. Conclusions: Both in vitro and in vivo evidence suggests that the combination of LAN and IL-2 may have a role in the management of advanced and symptomatic MTC. However, these preliminary data require further validation in larger randomized trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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