Cancer Immunotherapy Treatments

Immunotherapy research assistantA treatment plan provides cancer therapy using agents that have been approved by the FDA to treat specific types of cancer. A treatment plan may be standard therapy based on results of past research, and/or may consist of a combination of FDA approved agents using various doses or treatment schedules to treat your cancer.

To find out if you’re a candidate for a treatment plan, you or your doctor may contact the Aurora Immunotherapy Program within the Regenerative Medicine Center at Aurora St. Luke's at 414-649-5818. All immunotherapy plans are conducted at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer) Treatment Plan: Single Agent High-Dose Interleukin-2 (IL-2) for Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer

Background: High-dose IL-2 therapy is FDA approved and is considered standard therapy for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The long-term response for patients to achive a response to IL-2 reveals an overall response rate of 15 percent with a duration of 3-131+ months. (Fischer, RI. Presented at Aldesleukin for Injection Second International Congress; 1999; San Francisco, CA)

Patients suitable for treatment plan:

  • Patients must be diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body)
  • Must be out of bed more than 50 percent of the day
  • Relatively normal function of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver
  • Brain metastases should be treated and stable
  • Patients should not take/use steroids or steroid-containing compounds

Treatment:

  • Treatment with High-dose IL-2 therapy will require inpatient hospitalization in the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (MRICU)
  • One cycle of therapy will consist of treatment with IL-2 given in a vein every 8 hours for a maximum of 12 doses as tolerated. This will require a five to seven day stay in the hospital
  • Following approximately ten to fourteen days of rest after discharge from the hospital, patients will be treated again for a second cycle of therapy
  • These two cycles and follow-up evaluation make up one course of therapy
  • Patients will be evaluated for response to therapy two to four weeks after completion of two cycles of therapy
  • Additional courses of therapy may be offered dependent upon patient response and tolerance to treatment

Contact the Regenerative Medicine Center at 414-649-5818 for more information.

Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Treatment Plan: Single Agent High-Dose Interleukin-2 (IL-2) for Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Background: High-dose IL-2 therapy is FDA approved and considered standard therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma. Among 270 patients with metastatic melanoma treated in various clinical trials with high dose IL-2 therapy, an overall response of 16 percent with a duration of 3-106+ months was seen. (Rosenberg, SA. The Cancer Journal (from Scientific American), 1:5, 1998)

Patients suitable for treatment plan:

  • Patients must be diagnosed with metastatic melanoma (melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body)
  • Must be out of bed more than 50 percent of the day
  • Relatively normal function of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver
  • Brain metastases should be treated and stable
  • Patients should not take/use steroids or steroid-containing compounds

Treatment:

  • Treatment with High-Dose IL-2 therapy will require inpatient (MRICU) hospitalization
  • One cycle of therapy will consist of treatment with IL-2 given in a vein every 8 hours for a maximum of 12 doses as tolerated. This will require a five- to seven-day stay in the hospital
  • Following approximately 10 to 14 days of rest after discharge from the hospital, patients will be treated again for a second cycle of therapy
  • These two cycles and follow-up evaluation make up one course of therapy
  • Patients will be evaluated for response to therapy two to four weeks after completion of two cycles of therapy
  • Additional courses of therapy may be offered dependent upon patient response and tolerance to treatment

Contact the Regenerative Medicine Center at 414-649-5818 for more information.

Biochemotherapy for Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Background: Using multiple chemotherapy drugs in patients with metastatic melanoma can produce a response. Unfortunately, the duration or length of response is often short. Immunotherapy agents (such as IL-2) can produce responses with a longer duration. Various studies have been done using a combination of chemotherapy drugs and immunotherapy agents (also known as biochemotherapy). Encouraging results have been observed in patients that have been treated with biochemotherapy. An advantage of biochemotherapy is that lower doses of IL-2 are used, which can decrease the side effects observed with high dose IL-2. This offers another treatment option for patients who may not be able to tolerate high-dose IL-2 therapy.

Patients suitable for treatment plan:

  • Patients must be diagnosed with metastatic melanoma (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body)
  • Must be out of bed more than 50 percent of the day
  • Relatively normal function of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver
  • Brain metastases should be treated and stable
  • Patients should not take/use steroids or steroid-containing compounds

Treatment:

  • The treatment will require an inpatient hospitalization of five to seven days for each cycle of therapy
  • The treatment will be a combination of chemotherapy agents (Cisplatin, Dacarbazine, Velban) and immunotherapy agents (Interleukin-2, Interferon). Dacarbazine will be given intravenously (in a vein, IV) on day one of treatment only. Cisplatin and Velban will be given IV once daily on days one through four. Interleukin-2 will be given as a continuous IV infusion on days one through four. Interferon will be given as a subcutaneous injection (injected under the skin) daily on days one through five
  • Patients will be evaluated approximately two to three weeks after a cycle of therapy for response
  • Additional cycles of therapy may be offered depending on response and tolerance to treatment

Miscellaneous: All agents used in this treatment are FDA approved.

Contact the Regenerative Medicine Center at 414-649-5818 for more information.