Intralesional granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor followed by subcutaneous interleukin-2 in metastatic melanoma: A pilot study in elderly patients

L. Ridolfi, R. Ridolfi, A. Ascari-Raccagni, M. Fabbri, S. Casadei, A. Gatti, G. Trevisan, M. G. Righini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim and background. Recent data in the literature indicate that antigen-presenting cells (APC) are inactive in tumour tissue because of local immunosuppression. Tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) signal activation transducing mechanisms are also seriously impaired. Administration of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) may lead to APC recovery and interleukin (IL)-2 may restore local TIL activation. Moreover, IL-2 increases the systemic lymphocyte population, an event that seems to correlate with a better prognosis. Study design. The present phase I-II study was carried out to examine whether intralesional injection of GM-CSF followed by subcutaneous IL-2 would induce a clinical response in advanced, pretreated elderly melanoma patients. Methods. Sixteen patients over 60 years of age received intralesional GM-CSF (150 ng per lesion on day 1), generally divided between the two largest cutaneous lesions, followed by perilesional subcutaneous IL-2 (3 000 000 IU) for 5 days (days 3-7 inclusive) every 3 weeks. Results. Four clinical responses [two partial (PR) and two minimal (MR)] (25%), which also involved lesions that had not been directly treated, and nine cases of stable disease were observed. The response duration for PR and MR was 9, 4, 4 and 2.5+ months, respectively. Stable disease (56%) recorded in the nine patients was short-term (3-6 months). Three patients rapidly progressed after two, two and one therapy cycles, respectively. The patient who reached the best PR had a fairly high absolute lymphocyte count (1600-2400/mm3). The second one, who reached complete remission after subsequent locoregional chemotherapy and hyperthermia, however, had a low absolute lymphocyte count that had doubled by the end of treatment. Blood lymphocyte values in the other patients were too varied to allow any correlation with clinical response. Therapy was well tolerated and only mild fever was observed, with the exception of one patient who had grade 3 fever, with muscle pain and arthralgia. Conclusions. Considering the very low toxicity observed, this treatment might be indicated in elderly patients for whom systemic therapy is no longer a viable option. Improved scheduling and timing could result from further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Interleukin-2
  • Intralesional granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor
  • Melanoma
  • Subcutaneous metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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