New advances in interferon therapy of cancer

Scott Wadler, Edward L. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Substantial increases in both the understanding of the cellular mechanisms of actions of interferon (IFN) and in its clinical use in cancer have occurred in recent years. The efficacy of interferon for the treatment of select malignancies has been established, and IFN-α and IFN-β have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for multiple clinical indications. IFN-α increased median survival and relapse-free survival in patients with locally advanced melanoma when used as adjuvant therapy and had modest activity against advanced disease. In other tumors where studies indicated that IFN lacked direct therapeutic activity, clinical trials suggested that it increased the antitumor activity of cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents when used in combination therapy. IFN has substantial activity in chronic myelogenous leukemia, increasing survival in patients in early chronic phase when compared with conventional chemotherapy, and has some activity in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in combination with cytotoxic agents. Recent molecular and pharmacologic studies defining cellular receptor activation, signal transduction pathways, and biochemical modulating activities of interferon have yet to be fully incorporated into clinical development. Further preclinical advances along with the expanding identification of potentially clinically sensitive tumors make it likely that the use of IFN in cancer chemotherapy will continue to grow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-267
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Antiangiogenesis
  • Antineoplastic biotherapy
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Interferon receptors
  • Interferons
  • Melanoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Neoplasms
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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