Molecular insights on the peripheral and intratumoral effects of systemic high-dose rIL-2 (aldesleukin) administration for the treatment of metastatic melanoma

Geoffrey R. Weiss, William W. Grosh, Kimberly A. Chianese-Bullock, Yingdong Zhao, Hui Liu, Craig L. Slingluff, Francesco M. Marincola, Ena Wang

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We have previously shown that within tumors, recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2, aldesleukin) consistently activates tumor-associated macrophages and upregulates IFN-stimulated genes while inducing minimal migration, activation, or proliferation of T cells. These effects are independent of tumor response to treatment. Here, we prospectively evaluated transcriptional alterations induced by rIL-2 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and within melanoma metastases. Experimental Design: We evaluated gene expression changes by serially comparing pre- to posttreatment samples in 13 patients and also compared transcriptional differences among lesions displaying different responsiveness to therapy, focusing on 2 lesions decreasing in size and 2 remaining stable (responding lesions) compared with nonresponding ones. Results: As previously described, the effects of rIL-2 were dramatic within PBMCs, whereas effects within the tumor microenvironment were lesion specific and limited. However, distinct signatures specific to response could be observed in responding lesions pretreatment that were amplified following rIL-2 administration. These signatures match the functional profile observed in other human or experimental models in which immune-mediated tissue-specific destruction (TSD) occurs, underscoring common pathways leading to rejection. Moreover, the signatures observed in pretreatment lesions were qualitatively similar to those associated with TSD, underlining a determinism to immune responsiveness that depends upon the genetic background of the host or the intrinsic genetic makeup of individual tumors. Conclusions: This is the first prospectively collected insight on global transcriptional events occurring during high-dose rIL-2 therapy in melanoma metastases responding to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7440-7450
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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