Treatment of recurrent in transit metastases from cutaneous melanoma by isolation perfusion in extracorporeal circulation with interleukin-2 and lymphokine activated killer cells. A pilot study

F. Belli, F. Arienti, L. Rivoltini, M. Santinami, L. Mascheroni, A. Prada, M. Ammatuna, E. Marchesi, G. Parmiani, N. Cascinelli, M. Vaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Chemoresistant melanoma cells are known to be susceptible in vitro to lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cells. To obtain a high LAK/tumour cell ratio in vivo and avoid systemic toxicity due to interleukin-2 (IL-2), we used IL-2 plus LAK cells in the treatment of in transit melanoma metastases of the limbs by isolation perfusion (IP). In vivo immunological modifications induced by this immunotherapeutic approach were also analysed. Six patients previously treated with IP in extracorporeal circulation with tumour cytotoxic drugs and presently relapsing or not responding, were submitted to locoregional adoptive therapy consisting of 5 days systemic administration of IL-2 (Proleukin, EuroCetus) (9–12×106 IU/m2/day c.i.). Autologous LAK cells were derived from leuka-pheresis and subsequent in vitro stimulation with IL-2; LAK cells were then given along with IL-2 (120–2400 IU/ml of perfusion priming) to the affected limb by IP. In addition, 7–16×109 LAK cells were administered by systemic infusion the day after together with IL-2 (9–12×106 IU/m2/day) c.i. for 5 days. All patients concluded the treatment without major toxicity. The analysis of circulating lymphocytes obtained from extracorporeal circuit at different times revealed rapid disappearance of LAK cells, suggesting their extravasation and/or endothelial adhesion in perfused tissues. Clinical responses included four partial and one complete response; another patient had stable disease. All patients are presently alive. Follow-up after IP ranges from 8 to 22 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992



  • Extracorporeal circulation
  • Interleukin-2
  • Isolation perfusion
  • Lymphokine activated killer cells
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology

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