Intrapleural administration of interleukin-2 and LAK cells in locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. A case report

P. Matteucci, M. Tresoldi, G. Chiesa, S. Tognella, G. Citterio, C. Fortis, C. Besana, C. Rugarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: The systemic administration of recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells is ineffective in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is some evidence that their intrapleural administration could be effective, since it increases the concentrations of the cytokine and the effector cells in the tumor area, thereby obtaining greater antitumor activity. Study design: We report the case of a patient affected by a locally advanced lung adenocarcinoma with pleural effusion (T4 N0 M0 - stage IIIb) treated with repetitive courses consisting of a priming continuous i.v. infusion (48 h) of rIL-2 (18 MIU/m2/day) intrapleural administration of LAK cells (3-9 x 109/day), in a single daily bolus, for 3 consecutive days and concomitant administration of rIL-2 (1.8-7.2 x 106 IU/day), for 5 days. Results: We observed early disappearance of neoplastic cells in the pleural effusion, progressive decrease until disappearance of the pleural effusion, cavitation of the primary lesion during the treatment, and its stabilization for 9 months until progression. Radiologic changes were accompanied by a marked eosinophilia (up to 50 x 109/L), and the intrapleural route of administration of rIL-2 induced a relevant increase in eosinophil count in peripheral blood. mmunologic changes in lymphocyte subpopulation phenotypes were also observed. The performance status of the patient improved, and she was still alive and eupnoic 25 months from the diagnosis and 23 months from the start of treatment. Conclusions: This case suggests a therapeutic role for intrapleural rIL-2, and we believe that the relationship among intrapleural administration of rIL-2 and LAK cells, the development of peripheral eosinophilia, and clinical response should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • immunotherapy
  • interleukin-2
  • intrapleural
  • LAK cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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