Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to interleukin-2: Proleukin

aldesleukin (interleukin-2, IL-2)


Pharmacologic class: Interleukin-2 (IL-2), human recombinant (cytokine)

Therapeutic class: Antineoplastic (miscellaneous)

Pregnancy risk category C

FDA Box Warning

• Give only to patients with normal cardiac and pulmonary function, as shown by thallium stress testing and pulmonary function testing. Use extreme caution when giving to patients with normal thallium stress test and normal pulmonary function tests who have a history of cardiac or pulmonary disease.

• Give under supervision of physician experienced in cancer chemotherapy, in setting where intensive care facilities and cardiopulmonary or intensive care specialists are available.

• Drug is linked to capillary leak syndrome, which causes hypotension and reduced organ perfusion (possibly severe and resulting in death).

• Before starting drug, preexisting bacterial infections must be treated, because drug may impair neutrophil function and increase disseminated infection risk. Patients with indwelling central lines are at special risk for infection with gram-positive microorganisms. Prophylactic antibiotics can help prevent staphylococcal infections.

• Withhold drug in patients who develop moderate to severe lethargy or somnolence; continued administration may cause coma.


Activates cellular immunity and inhibits tumor growth by increasing lymphocytes and cytokines, which lyse tumor cells


Injection: 22 million international units/vial

Indications and dosages

Metastatic renal cell carcinoma and metastatic melanoma

Adults older than age 18: 600,000 international units/kg I.V. given over 15 minutes q 8 hours for a maximum of 14 doses, followed by 9 days of rest. Repeat for another 14 doses, for a maximum of 28 doses per course.

Off-label uses

• Colorectal cancer
• Kaposi's sarcoma
• Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma


• Hypersensitivity to drug
• Arrhythmias, cardiac tamponade, seizures, severe GI bleeding, coma or toxic psychosis lasting more than 48 hours
• Organ allograft
• Abnormal thallium stress test or pulmonary function test results


Use cautiously in:
• anemia, bacterial infections, heart disease, CNS metastases, hepatic disease, pulmonary disease, renal disease, thrombocytopenia
• pregnant or breastfeeding patients
• children.


• Make sure patient's thallium stress test and pulmonary function test results are normal before giving.

Don't give if patient is drowsy or severely lethargic; contact prescriber immediately.
• Reconstitute drug according to label directions with 1.2 ml of sterile water for injection by injecting diluent against side of vial (to prevent excessive foaming).
• Further dilute reconstituted dose with 50 ml of 5% dextrose injection.
• Administer I.V. infusion over 15 minutes.
• Don't use in-line filter.

Adverse reactions

CNS: dizziness, mental status changes, syncope, sensory or motor dysfunction, headache, fatigue, rigors, weakness, malaise, poor memory, depression, sleep disturbances, hallucinations

CV: bradycardia, sinus tachycardia, premature atrial complexes, premature ventricular contractions, arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia, cardiac arrest, capillary leak syndrome and severe hypotension, myocardial infarction EENT: reversible vision changes, conjunctivitis

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, stomatitis, anorexia, intestinal perforation, ileus, GI bleeding

GU: hematuria, proteinuria, dysuria, renal failure, oliguria or anuria Hematologic: anemia, purpura, eosinophilia, thrombocytopenia, coagulation disorders, leukopenia, leukocytosis

Hepatic: jaundice, ascites

Metabolic: hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, acidosis, alkalosis

Musculoskeletal: joint and back pain, myalgia

Respiratory: cough, chest pain, tachypnea, wheezing, dyspnea, pulmonary congestion, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, apnea, pleural effusion

Skin: erythema, pruritus, rash, dry skin, petechiae, urticaria, exfoliative dermatitis

Other: weight gain or loss, fever, chills, edema, infection, pain or reaction at injection site, hypersensitivity reaction


Drug-drug.Aminoglycosides, asparaginase, cytotoxic chemotherapy agents, doxorubicin, indomethacin, methotrexate: increased toxicity

Antihypertensives: increased hypotensive effect

Glucocorticoids: reduced antitumor effects

Drug-diagnostic tests.Alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, potassium, transaminases: increased levels

Calcium, glucose, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein sodium, uric acid: decreased levels

Patient monitoring

• Monitor heart rate and rhythm, vital signs, and fluid intake and output.
• Assess for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity reaction and infection.
• Monitor for adverse CNS effects. Report these immediately.
• Evaluate chest X-rays.
• Monitor CBC, electrolyte levels, and liver and kidney function test results.

Patient teaching

Tell patient that drug lowers resistance to infections. Advise him to immediately report fever, cough, breathing problems, and other signs or symptoms of infection.

Advise patient to immediately report chest pain, irregular or fast heart beats, easy bruising or bleeding, or abdominal pain.
• Instruct patient to minimize GI upset by eating small, frequent servings of food and drinking plenty of fluids.
• Provide dietary counseling. Refer patient to dietitian if adverse GI effects significantly limit food intake.
• Notify patient that he'll undergo blood testing and have chest X-rays taken during therapy.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs and tests mentioned above.


A cytokine derived from T-helper lymphocytes that causes proliferation of T lymphocytes and activated B lymphocytes; maintains long-term culturs of T cells.


A cytokine that is released by T cells in response to an antigen and that regulates the growth and differentiation of B cells, monocytes, and many types of T cells. It has been used experimentally to treat cancer.

interleukin-2 (IL-2)

a protein with various immunological functions, including the ability to initiate proliferation of activated T cells. IL-2 is used in the laboratory to grow T cell clones with specific helper, cytotoxic, and suppressor functions.


A gene on chromosome 4q26-q27 that encodes interleukin-2, a cytokine secreted by T cells in response to antigenic or mitogenic stimulation that plays a central role in the proliferation of T and B lymphocytes. IL-2 upregulates B-cells, monocytes, lymphokine-activated killer cells, natural killer cells and glioma cells.


A cytokine derived from T-helper lymphocytes that causes proliferation of T lymphocytes and activated B lymphocytes.


A peptide chemical mediator released by helper T LYMPHOCYTES that stimulates clonal T cell and B cell division and proliferation. It is known as the T cell growth factor and is responsible for the activation on natural killer T cells.


A cytokine derived from T-helper lymphocytes that causes proliferation of T lymphocytes and activated B lymphocytes.


n a hormone produced by T helper and suppressor lymphocytes that functions to control the expansion and reactivity of T lymphocytes. Used to boost the immune system in HIV-positive patients.
References in periodicals archive ?
Recently, BioMedicines scientists have shown in patients with renal cancer that the therapeutic index of interleukin-2 is improved by the coadministration of Biomed 101.
It's unprecedented," says Lane, who has worked on interleukin-2 therapy for 13 years.
For the treatment of hepatitis and cancer, Ceplene is administered in combination with cytokines such as interferon-alpha and interleukin-2, proteins that stimulate these same immune cells.
Although interleukin-2 can be effective in such patients, when high doses are required, toxicity is often severe," said Peter J.
The article was entitled "Results From a Randomized Phase III Study Comparing Combined Treatment With Histamine Dihydrochloride Plus Interleukin-2 Versus Interleukin-2 Alone in Patients With Metastatic Melanoma" (J Clin Oncol 2002; 20(1): 125-133).
Sobol of the San Diego Regional Cancer Center and his colleagues hoped that by inserting the gene that codes for interleukin-2 into mouse cells, they could produce cells that would secrete interleukin-2.
The title of the presentation is "Histamine and Interleukin-2 Inhibit Growth and Neovascularisation in Malignant Glioma.
In the new experiment, he plans to eliminate the need for TIL cells by inserting genes for TNF or interleukin-2 directly into tumor cells removed from patients.
In a one-year study of HIV-infected people, infusions of the immune system protein interleukin-2 (IL-2) have resulted in dramatic and sustained increases in the primary immune system cells depleted during HIV infection, according to investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Moreover, the experiment's protocol allows for the addition of some interleukin-2 later in the trials, depending on initial TNF-toxicity findings.
Anderson Hospital in Houston have begun a clinical trial of the hybrid diphtheria toxin's potential for destroying adult leukemia and lymphoma cells possessing interleukin-2 receptors.
The Baylor team identified 82 children with Kawasaki's and found high levels of interleukin-2 receptor when they looked at the children's blood serum.