Tumor Immunotherapy Program

Patient Education

What is Interleukin?

High-dose Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is an FDA-approved treatment for metastatic melanoma and metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Since IL-2 is a naturally occurring protein in our bodies, it is also called "immunotherapy" or "biologic therapy". IL-2 can be made in large amounts in the laboratory and can be given to patients intravenously.

IL-2 works directly on cancer cells by interfering with how they grow and multiply. It stimulates the immune system to produce more Killer T-Cells and other cells that can attack and kill the cancer cells.

Approximately 15% of patients who receive therapy have either a complete or partial response to therapy with IL-2. Your doctor may be able to determine whether the tumors have shrunk within 2 months after your first course of IL-2 therapy.

Is IL-2 Right for Me?

This is a question that your physician will help you answer. For many it is the only chance for complete remission.

Your physician will discuss the risks and benefits of IL-2 treatment with you in detail so that you may make an informed decision to proceed.

Am I Eligible for IL-2?

There is no age limit for treatment with Interleukin-2. General health status is the primary eligibility factor.

  • You must be able to walk on your own and have no limiting symptoms of your disease.
  • You must have normal organ function that will be evaluated by blood work, tests to measure heart function, and tests to measure lung function.
  • You must have no infections, inflammatory disease or autoimmmune disease.

Quick Reference

Tumor Immunotherapy Program



Find a Doctor Ways to Give
Last Updated: 07-09-2015
USNWR 2015-2016Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.