The cytokine interleukin 2 (IL-2) is a mediator of immune cell activation with some antitumor activity, mainly in renal cell cancer and melanoma. We have previously shown that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α has strong synergistic antitumor activity in combination with chemotherapeutics in the isolated limb perfusion (ILP) setting based on a TNF-mediated enhanced tumor-selective uptake of the chemotherapeutic drug followed by a selective destruction of the tumor vasculature. IL-2 can cause vascular leakage and edema and for this reason we examined the antitumor activity of a combined treatment with IL-2 and melphalan in our well-established ILF in soft tissue sarcoma-bearing rats (BN175). ILP with either IL-2 or melphalan alone has no antitumor effect, but the combination of IL-2 and melphalan resulted in a strong synergistic tumor response, without any local or systemic toxicity. IL-2 enhanced significantly melphalan uptake in tumor tissue. No signs of significant vascular damage were detected to account for this observation, although the tumor sections of the IL-2- and IL-2 plus melphalan-treated animals revealed scattered extravasation of erythrocytes compared with the untreated animals. Clear differences were seen in the localization of ED-1 cells, with an even distribution in the sham, IL-2 and melphalan treatments, whereas in the IL-2 plus melphalan-treated tumors clustered ED-1 cells were found. Additionally, increased levels of TNF mRNA were found in tumors treated with IL-2 and IL-2 plus melphalan. These observations indicate a potentially important role for macrophages in the IL-2-based perfusion. The results in our study indicate that the novel combination of IL-2 and melphalan in ILP has synergistic antitumor activity and may be an alternative for ILP with TNF and melphalan.,
Cancer Research
Department of Surgery

Hoving, S., Brunstein, F., Aan de Wiel-Ambagtsheer, G., van Tiel, S., de Boeck, G., de Bruijn, E., … ten Hagen, T. (2005). Synergistic antitumor response of interleukin 2 with melphalan in isolated limb perfusion in soft tissue sarcoma-bearing rats. Cancer Research, 65(10), 4300–4308. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-2214