MJ Mackean, D Kerr, M Lesko, A Svedberg, F Hansson, D Jodrell, J Cassidy
Br J Cancer
Thirty-one patients with advanced renal carcinoma or malignant melanoma were treated in the first feasibility study of alpha-interferon (Roferon) and the new oral immunomodulating agent, Linomide. Linomide 5 mg or 10 mg p.o. daily was given for 2 weeks; alpha-interferon was then added at 3 MU s.c. three times weekly, escalating in each patient by 3 MU per week, if tolerable, up to 12 MJ. The combination was poorly tolerated with nausea, vomiting, somnolence and myalgia commonly reported. Adverse events accounted for treatment withdrawal in ten patients and contributed to withdrawal in four other patients. Treatment with Linomide alone in the first 2 weeks led to a significant increase in white blood cells, neutrophils and platelets. When alpha-interferon was added, the platelet count decreased significantly over the following 6 weeks. Nineteen patients had white cell phenotype and function measured. After 2 weeks of 5 mg Linomide, a transient but significant decrease in the absolute number of activated T-helper cells (CD4+DR+) was observed. No changes in natural killer (NK) cell number or activity were observed. Twenty-two patients were evaluable for response. One with metastatic renal cell carcinoma had a complete response and six had stable disease. This study does not support the use of the combination because significant toxicity was seen without the anticipated immunological benefits.