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Interferon alpha

"One of the type I interferons produced by peripheral blood leukocytes or lymphoblastoid cells. In addition to antiviral activity, it activates NATURAL KILLER CELLS and B-LYMPHOCYTES, and down-regulates VASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH FACTOR expression through PI-3 KINASE and MAPK KINASES signaling pathways." (MeSH 2013)

Interferons are produced by the body's immune system. They attach to other immune system cells, activating them to help the body fight infections and cancer cells. Man-made versions of these substances are sometimes used for "immunotherapy" to boost the body's immune system to help it fight diseases, including cancer. A particular sub-type, Alpha interferons, are used to treat certain types of leukemias and lymphomas, skin melanomas, Kaposi sarcoma, and a range of other conditions.

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Latest Research Publications

Web Resources: Interferon alpha (7 links)

Latest Research Publications

Lee SH, Jin YJ, Shin JY, Lee JW
Assessment of hepatocellular carcinoma risk based on peg-interferon plus ribavirin treatment experience in this new era of highly effective oral antiviral drugs.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2017; 96(1):e5321 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this new era of highly effective oral antiviral drugs for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), indications for antiviral treatment may be extendable. This study undertaken to identify suitable candidates for peg-interferon plus ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) treatment by evaluating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk in patients with chronic HCV treated or not with PEG-IFN/RBV.This large-scale retrospective study was conducted on 1176 patients with chronic HCV without a history of HCC (treatment group [n = 489] and no-treatment group [n = 687]). In the treatment group, patients treated with PEG-IFN/RBV were dichotomized based on the achievement of sustained virologic response (SVR) into SVR (+) and SVR (-) groups.Median follow-up for all study subjects was 31 months (range 6-144 months). Three-year cumulative HCC development rates in the SVR (+) (1.1%) and SVR (-) (8.6%) subgroups were significantly lower than in the no-treatment group (13.5%) (P < 0.01 and P < 0.01, respectively). In all study subjects, presence of cirrhosis (hazard ratio [HR], 9.92, P < 0.01), age (HR 1.03, P < 0.01), SVR (-) (HR 7.02, P < 0.01), and no-treatment (HR 6.76, P < 0.01) were found to be independent risk factors of HCC development. In the treatment group, age, the presence of cirrhosis, and SVR (-) were predictors of HCC development. In the no-treatment group, age, male, and the presence of cirrhosis were independent predictors for HCC development.HCC risk increased in patients with chronic HCV with older age, cirrhosis, SVR (-) after PEG-IFN/RBV treatment, and no PEG-IFN/RBV treatment. Active antiviral therapy based on highly effective oral drugs needs to be considered in these patients.

Ng KJ, Tseng CW, Chang TT, et al.
Aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index and sustained virologic response are associated with progression from hepatitis C associated liver cirrhosis to hepatocellular carcinoma after treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin.
Clin Interv Aging. 2016; 11:1035-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinically significant predictors of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development among hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhotic patients receiving combination therapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and five compensated cirrhosis patients who received pegylated interferon plus ribavirin between January 2005 and December 2011 were enrolled. All the patients were examined with abdominal sonography and liver biochemistry at baseline, end of treatment, and every 3-6 months posttreatment. The occurrence of HCC was evaluated every 3-6 months posttreatment.
RESULTS: A total of 105 patients were enrolled (mean age 58.3±10.4 years). The average follow-up time for each patient was 4.38 years (standard deviation 1.73 years; range 1.13-9.27 years). Fifteen (14.3%) patients developed HCC during follow-up period. Thirteen of them had high baseline aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI) (ie, an APRI >2.0). Multivariate analysis showed that those without sustained virologic response (SVR) (hazard ratio [HR] 5.795; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.370-24.5; P=0.017) and high APRI (HR 5.548; 95% CI 1.191-25.86; P=0.029) had a significantly higher risk of HCC occurrence. The cumulative incidence of HCC was significantly higher (P=0.009) in patients without SVR (3-year cumulative incidence 21.4%; 95% CI 7.4%-35.5%; 5-year cumulative incidence 31.1%; 95% CI 11.2%-51.1%) compared to those with SVR (3- and 5-year cumulative incidence 6.2%; 95% CI 0%-1.3%). Further, the cumulative incidence of HCC was significantly higher (P=0.006) in patients with high APRI (3-year cumulative incidence 21.8%; 95% CI 8.2%-35.3%; 5-year cumulative incidence 30.5%, 95% CI 11.8%-49.3%) compared to those with low APRI (3- and 5-year cumulative incidence 4.2%, 95% CI 0%-1.0%).
CONCLUSION: In HCV-infected cirrhotic patients who received combination therapy, APRI and SVR are the two major predictors of HCC development.

Hansen IO, Sørensen AL, Hasselbalch HC
Second malignancies in hydroxyurea and interferon-treated Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms.
Eur J Haematol. 2017; 98(1):75-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: In an era of controversy in regard to 'hydroxyurea-leukaemogenicity' and when interferon-alfa2 (IFN) is being revived in the treatment of Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), we aim in this single-centre observational study to describe the frequencies of second malignancies in a cohort of MPN patients treated with hydroxyurea (HU) or IFN monotherapy or the combination of these agents.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Records of a MPN cohort of 196 patients were reviewed, and a retrospective analysis was performed on 90 patients treated with HU, 38 patients treated with IFN and 68 patients treated with both IFN and HU. Logistic regression was used to compare frequencies in second malignancies.
RESULTS: Patients treated with HU had a significantly higher risk of developing all second malignancies compared with patients treated with IFN [HU vs. IFN: OR of 4.01 (95%CI: 1.12-14.27, P-value: 0.023) and HU-IFN vs. IFN: OR 5.58 (95%CI: 1.55-20.15, P-value: 0.004)].
CONCLUSION: We have found an increased risk of second malignancies in MPN patients treated with HU compared with patients treated with IFN.

Ahmed F, Mahmood N, Shahid S, et al.
Mutations in Human Interferon α2b Gene and Potential as Risk Factor Associated with Female Breast Cancer.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2016; 31(6):199-208 [PubMed] Related Publications
The current study explored the potential links between breast cancer and human interferon α-2b (hIFNα-2b) gene mutations. The hIFNα-2b gene was amplified from breast cancer tumor tissue samples (N = 60) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the products were subjected to gene sequencing. A total of 38 (63.3%) samples showed positive PCR amplification results. Several of these also exhibited frequent alterations (mutations) after 400 bp and, in particular, adenine was replaced by other bases. A total of 19 selected mutated amino acids were analyzed for local/general fold pattern changes. Human IFNα-2b receptor (IFNAR): ligand (hIFNα-2b protein) interactions through a Z-DOCK (3.0.2) server were also evaluated to assess the binding patterns of each ligand to receptor to induce Janus-Kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription antiproliferative signal transduction pathway inside the cancer cells. Certain local structural and conformational changes were predicted to be induced by mutations in the ligand. The variant models of the hIFNα-2b displayed structural and conformational changes that signified that changes to hIFNα-2b may be a risk factor in addition to other known factors associated with onset/progression of female breast carcinoma. It was hoped that others might build upon the research in this study evaluating protein structural models with mutations and their consequent interactions with receptors in the development of potent immune therapeutic drugs for breast cancer that are based on recombinant hIFNα-2b.

Baik SJ, Kim TH, Kim HI, Rhie JY
Myasthenia Crisis Induced by Pegylated-Interferon in Patient With Chronic Hepatitis C: A Case Report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(21):e3782 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myasthenia gravis is occasionally associated with thymoma that needs surgical resection and may progress to severe respiratory failure. We experienced a rare case of myasthenia crisis during antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C, in whom mediastinal thymoma was discovered and successfully managed with surgical thymectomy and meticulous medical care.A 47-year-old-male patient complained of sudden diplopia 1 week after stopping 11-week administration of pegylated-interferon and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C. Ophthalmologic examinations revealed ptosis on the right eyelid and restricted right eye movement. Myasthenia gravis was confirmed by positive repetitive nerve stimulation test and positive serum antiacetylcholine receptor antibody test, and mediastinal thymoma was found on chest CT scan. The ocular myasthenia gravis progressed to respiratory failure even after discontinuing antiviral treatment but eventually recovered with thymectomy, anticholinesterase administration, steroid pulse therapy, and prolonged ventilator care. We describe the clinical features of this life-threatening complication of interferon treatment along with previous myasthenia crisis cases by interferon for chronic hepatitis C.In patients with chronic hepatitis C who is going to receive interferon-based antiviral treatment, physicians need to keep in mind the potential life-threatening manifestations of myasthenia gravis before and during antiviral treatment especially when patients complain of muscular weakness and easy fatigability.

Kawano Y, Takahashi W, Eto M, et al.
Prognosis of metastatic renal cell carcinoma with first-line interferon-α therapy in the era of molecular-targeted therapy.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(7):1013-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The RCC-SELECT study showed the correlation between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in STAT3 gene and survival in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients with first-line interferon-α (IFN-α). In that study, even patients with STAT3 SNP linked to shorter overall survival (OS) exhibited remarkably improved prognosis. All 180 patients evaluated in the above study were further analyzed for correlation between OS and demographics/clinicopathological parameters. OS was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Associations between OS and potential prognostic factors were assessed using the log-rank test and the Cox proportional hazards model. The median OS was 42.8 months. Univariate analysis showed that worse Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-performance status (ECOG-PS), high T stage, regional lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, higher grade, infiltrative growth pattern, the presence of microscopic vascular invasion (MVI), hypercalcemia, anemia, thrombocytopenia and elevated C-reactive protein were significantly associated with OS. Multivariate analysis revealed that ECOG-PS (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.665, P = 0.0004), hypercalcemia (HR = 6.428, P = 0.0005) and the presence of MVI (HR = 2.668, P = 0.0109) were jointly significant poor prognostic factors. This is the first study analysing prognostic factors of mRCC patients with first-line IFN-α using large cohort of the prospective study. The present study suggests that first-line IFN-α is still a useful therapy for mRCC even in the era of molecular targeted therapy.

Mattos AA, Marcon Pdos S, Araújo FS, et al.
Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2015; 57(6):519-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the main risk factors for the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the emergence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in non-cirrhotic HCV patients, especially after sustained virological response (SVR) is an unusual event. Recently, it has been suggested that HCV genotype 3 may have a particular oncogenic mechanism, but the factors involved in these cases as well as the profile of these patients are still not fully understood. Thus, we present the case of a non-cirrhotic fifty-year-old male with HCV infection, genotype 3a, who developed HCC two years after treatment with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin, with SVR, in Brazil.

O'Neill C, Siddiqi I, Brynes RK, et al.
Pegylated interferon for the treatment of early myelofibrosis: correlation of serial laboratory studies with response to therapy.
Ann Hematol. 2016; 95(5):733-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pegylated interferon α-2a (Peg-IFN) has been shown to induce hematologic and molecular responses in patients with the Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), including polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET). We describe a series of patients with long-standing MPNs among whom Peg-IFN was initiated when they developed anemia and increased bone marrow reticulin fibrosis suggestive of early transformation to post-ET (PET) or post-PV (PPV) myelofibrosis (MF). Six patients were treated with Peg-IFN for a mean duration of 33.8 months (range 2-63 months). Five patients had long-standing ET (three were calreticulin (CALR)-positive, one janus kinase 2 (JAK2)-positive, and one JAK2-negative and CALR-negative), and one had long-standing JAK2-positive PV prior to starting Peg-IFN. This is the first study to report that, concurrent with the improvement in anemia, serial laboratory studies demonstrate an increase in serum LDH and left-shifted myeloid cells in the peripheral circulation over approximately 6 months, followed by a gradual normalization of these findings. Splenomegaly also increased and then resolved among responding patients. Serial bone marrow biopsies were available, which showed little change except for improvement in the grade of reticulin fibrosis in two patients. Among patients with early transformation to PET or PPV MF, our data support the efficacy of Peg-IFN in improving hemoglobin levels and reducing splenomegaly. These peripheral blood findings should not, therefore, be considered evidence of treatment failure within the first year of Peg-IFN therapy.

Zhao LJ, He SF, Wang W, et al.
Interferon alpha antagonizes STAT3 and SOCS3 signaling triggered by hepatitis C virus.
Cytokine. 2016; 80:48-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
We aimed to investigate regulation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) by interferon alpha (IFN-α) and to analyze the relationship between STAT3 and SOCS3 during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Changes in STAT3 and SOCS3 were analyzed at both mRNA and protein levels in human hepatoma cells infected with HCV (J6/JFH1). At 72h of HCV infection, STAT3 expression was decreased with sustained phosphorylation, and IFN-α increased such decrease and phosphorylation. HCV increased SOCS3 expression, while IFN-α impaired such increase, indicating different regulation of STAT3 and SOCS3 by IFN-α. IFN-α-induced expression and phosphorylation of upstream kinases of the JAK/STAT pathway, Tyk2 and Jak1, were suppressed by HCV. Moreover, knockdown of STAT3 by RNA interference led to decreases in HCV RNA replication and viral protein expression, without affecting either the expression of Tyk2 and Jak1 or the SOCS3 induction in response to IFN-α. These results show that IFN-α antagonizes STAT3 and SOCS3 signaling triggered by HCV and that STAT3 regulation correlates inversely with SOCS3 induction by IFN-α, which may be important in better understanding the complex interplay between IFN-α and signal molecules during HCV infection.

Hsu YA, Huang CC, Kung YJ, et al.
The anti-proliferative effects of type I IFN involve STAT6-mediated regulation of SP1 and BCL6.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 375(2):303-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Type I IFN-induced STAT6 has been shown to have anti-proliferative effects in Daudi and B cells. IFN-sensitive (DS) and IFN-resistant (DR) subclones of Daudi cells were used to study the role of STAT6 in the anti-proliferative activities. Type I IFN significantly increased STAT6 mRNA and protein expression in DS but not DR cells. STAT6 knockdown significantly reduced the sensitivity to IFN in both cell lines. The molecular targets and functional importance of IFN-activated STAT6 were performed by chromatin immunoprecipitation-on-chip (ChIP-on-chip) experiments in type I IFN-treated Daudi cells. Two target genes (Sp1 and BCL6) were selected from the ChIP-on-chip data. IFN-induced STAT6 activation led to Sp1 upregulation and BCL6 downregulation in DS cells, with only minimal effects in DR cells. siRNA inhibition of STAT6 expression resulted in decreased Sp1 and BCL6 mRNA and protein levels in both DS and DR cells. IFN treatment did not increase Sp1 and BCL6 expression in a STAT2-deficient RST2 cell line, and this effect was mitigated by plasmid overexpression of STAT2, indicating that STAT2 is important for STAT6 activation. These results suggest that STAT6 plays an important role in regulating Sp1 and BCL6 through STAT2 to exert the anti-proliferative effects of type I IFN.

Reiter M, Eckhardt I, Haferkamp A, Fulda S
Smac mimetic sensitizes renal cell carcinoma cells to interferon-α-induced apoptosis.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 375(1):1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The prognosis of metastatic or relapsed renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is still very poor, highlighting the need for new treatment strategies. Here, we identify a cooperative antitumor activity of interferon-α (IFNα) together with the Smac mimetic BV6 that antagonizes antiapoptotic IAP proteins. BV6 and IFNα act together to reduce cell viability and to induce apoptosis in various RCC cell lines. Molecular studies revealed that BV6/IFNα co-treatment triggers apoptosis independently of autocrine/paracrine Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)α signaling, since the TNFα-blocking antibody Enbrel fails to rescue cell death. Importantly, knockdown of Receptor-Interacting Protein (RIP)1 significantly decreases BV6/IFNα-mediated apoptosis, whereas the RIP1 kinase inhibitor necrostatin-1 (Nec-1) provides no protection. This demonstrates that RIP1 protein is critically required for BV6/IFNα-induced apoptosis, while RIP1 kinase activity is dispensable, pointing to a scaffold function of RIP1. Consistently, BV6 and IFNα cooperate to trigger the interaction of RIP1, Fas-Associated Death Domain protein (FADD) and caspase-8 to form a cytosolic cell death complex that drives caspase activation. Addition of the broad-range caspase inhibitor N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone (zVAD.fmk) significantly protects RCC cells against BV6/IFNα-induced apoptosis, demonstrating that caspase activity is required for apoptosis. In conclusion, the combination approach of IFNα and BV6 represents a promising strategy for cooperative induction of apoptosis in RCC cells, which warrants further investigation.

Siedlecki AN, Tapp S, Tosteson AN, et al.
Surgery Versus Interferon Alpha-2b Treatment Strategies for Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia: A Literature-Based Decision Analysis.
Cornea. 2016; 35(5):613-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To compare treatment strategies for ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN), ranging from surgical excision to empiric topical interferon alpha-2b (IFN-α2b).
METHODS: A decision model was constructed to determine which of 4 treatment strategies minimized expected persistence/recurrence of disease in patients with OSSN: excision followed by repeat excision for positive surgical margins, excision followed by IFN-α2b for positive margins, incisional biopsy followed by IFN-α2b for positive biopsies, and empiric treatment with IFN-α2b. Probabilities were estimated from literature published between 1983 and 2015. Expected values for the probability of recurrence could range from 0 (no persistence/recurrence) to 1 (persistence/recurrence). Sensitivity analyses were performed for each variable.
RESULTS: Excision followed by IFN-α2b for positive margins was estimated to minimize persistence/recurrence of OSSN (expected value 0.13 versus 0.17 for empiric IFN-α2b, 0.22 for excision-only, and 0.30 for incisional biopsy-directed IFN-α2b). The optimal strategy was sensitive to 3 variables: efficacy of IFN-α2b, recurrence after negative surgical margins, and accuracy of excisional biopsy.
CONCLUSIONS: In our decision analysis using studies published between 1983 and 2015, surgical excision followed by IFN-α2b for positive margins is the favored strategy for minimizing persistence/recurrence of OSSN. Future prospective studies would add to the certainty of these conclusions.

McMasters KM, Egger ME, Edwards MJ, et al.
Final Results of the Sunbelt Melanoma Trial: A Multi-Institutional Prospective Randomized Phase III Study Evaluating the Role of Adjuvant High-Dose Interferon Alfa-2b and Completion Lymph Node Dissection for Patients Staged by Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy.
J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34(10):1079-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The Sunbelt Melanoma Trial is a prospective randomized trial evaluating the role of high-dose interferon alfa-2b therapy (HDI) or completion lymph node dissection (CLND) for patients with melanoma staged by sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients were eligible if they were age 18 to 70 years with primary cutaneous melanoma ≥ 1.0 mm Breslow thickness and underwent SLN biopsy. In Protocol A, patients with a single tumor-positive lymph node after SLN biopsy underwent CLND and were randomly assigned to observation versus HDI. In Protocol B, patients with tumor-negative SLN by standard histopathology and immunohistochemistry underwent molecular staging by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Patients positive by RT-PCR were randomly assigned to observation versus CLND versus CLND+HDI. Primary end points were disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).
RESULTS: In the Protocol A intention-to-treat analysis, there were no significant differences in DFS (hazard ratio, 0.82; P = .45) or OS (hazard ratio, 1.10; P = .68) for patients randomly assigned to HDI versus observation. In the Protocol B intention-to-treat analysis, there were no significant differences in overall DFS (P = .069) or OS (P = .77) across the three randomized treatment arms. Similarly, efficacy analysis (excluding patients who did not receive the assigned treatment) did not demonstrate significant differences in DFS or OS in Protocol A or Protocol B. Median follow-up time was 71 months.
CONCLUSION: No survival benefit for adjuvant HDI in patients with a single positive SLN was found. Among patients with tumor-negative SLN by conventional pathology but with melanoma detected in the SLN by RT-PCR, there was no OS benefit for CLND or CLND+HDI.

Sabbatino F, Wang Y, Scognamiglio G, et al.
Antitumor Activity of BRAF Inhibitor and IFNα Combination in BRAF-Mutant Melanoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(7) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: BRAF(V600E)-mediated MAPK pathway activation is associated in melanoma cells with IFNAR1 downregulation. IFNAR1 regulates melanoma cell sensitivity to IFNα, a cytokine used for the adjuvant treatment of melanoma. These findings and the limited therapeutic efficacy of BRAF-I prompted us to examine whether the efficacy of IFNα therapy of BRAF(V600E) melanoma can be increased by its combination with BRAF-I.
METHODS: BRAF/NRAS genotype, ERK activation, IFNAR1, and HLA class I expression were tested in 60 primary melanoma tumors from treatment-naive patients. The effect of BRAF-I on IFNAR1 expression was assessed in three melanoma cell lines and in four biopsies of BRAF(V600E) metastases. The antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic and immunomodulatory activity of BRAF-I and IFNα combination was tested in vitro and in vivo utilizing three melanoma cell lines, HLA class I-MA peptide complex-specific T-cells and immunodeficient mice (5 per group for survival and 10 per group for tumor growth inhibition). All statistical tests were two-sided. Differences were considered statistically significant when the P value was less than .05.
RESULTS: The IFNAR1 level was statistically significantly (P < .001) lower in BRAF(V600E) primary melanoma tumors than in BRAF wild-type tumors. IFNAR1 downregulation was reversed by BRAF-I treatment in the three melanoma cell lines (P ≤ .02) and in three out of four metastases. The IFNAR1 level in the melanoma tumors analyzed was increased as early as 10 to 14 days following the beginning of the treatment. These changes were associated with: 1) an increased susceptibility in vitro of melanoma cells to the antiproliferative (P ≤ .04), pro-apoptotic (P ≤ .009) and immunomodulatory activity, including upregulation of HLA class I antigen APM component (P ≤ .04) and MA expression as well as recognition by cognate T-cells (P < .001), of BRAF-I and IFNα combination and 2) an increased survival (P < .001) and inhibition of tumor growth of melanoma cells (P < .001) in vivo by BRAF-I and IFNα combination.
CONCLUSIONS: The described results provide a strong rationale for the clinical trials implemented in BRAF(V600E) melanoma patients with BRAF-I and IFNα combination.

Eggermont AM, Suciu S, Rutkowski P, et al.
Long term follow up of the EORTC 18952 trial of adjuvant therapy in resected stage IIB-III cutaneous melanoma patients comparing intermediate doses of interferon-alpha-2b (IFN) with observation: Ulceration of primary is key determinant for IFN-sensitivity.
Eur J Cancer. 2016; 55:111-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We report on the long term outcome of the EORTC 18952 adjuvant interferon (IFN) trial in 1388 resected stage IIB/III melanoma patients and identify key predictive factors for outcome.
METHODS: We analysed outcome of the EORTC 18952 trial (4 weeks of IFN, 10 MU, 5 times/week for 4 weeks followed by 12 months IFN at 10 MU, 3 times/week versus followed by 24 months IFN at 5 MU 3 times/week versus observation) regarding relapse-free survival (RFS), distant metastasis-free interval/survival (DMFI/DMFS), and overall survival (OS), and analysed potential predictive factors of outcome.
FINDINGS: At a median follow-up of 11 years, the comparison of IFN 13 months versus IFN 25 months versus observation yielded estimated hazard ratios (HR) for RFS of 0.94 versus 0.84 (p = 0.06); for DMFI 0.95 versus 0.82 (p = 0.027); for DMFS 0.95 versus 0.84 (p = 0.07); and for OS 0·95 versus 0.84 (p = 0.08), respectively. The impact of treatment was greatest in the ulceration group, whereas in patients with non-ulcerated primaries the impact was null (HR ≥ 1.0). In patients with ulcerated melanoma the HR for IFN 13 months versus 25 months versus observation were for: RFS 0.82 (p = 0.16) versus 0.61 (p = 0.0008); DMFS 0.76 (p = 0.06) versus 0.57 (p = 0.0003); OS 0.80 (p = 0.13) versus 0.59 (p = 0.0007). In stage IIB/III-N1 (microscopic nodal involvement only) patients with ulcerated melanoma the HR estimates were for: RFS 0.85 versus 0.62; DMFS 0.80 versus 0.56; OS 0.77 versus 0.54.
CONCLUSIONS: This long term report of the EORTC 18952 trial demonstrates the superiority of the 25-month IFN schedule and defines ulceration of the primary as the overriding predictive factor for IFN-sensitivity.

Roesler S, Eckhardt I, Wolf S, Fulda S
Cooperative TRAIL production mediates IFNα/Smac mimetic-induced cell death in TNFα-resistant solid cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(4):3709-25 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
Smac mimetics antagonize IAP proteins, which are highly expressed in several cancers. Recent reports indicate that Smac mimetics trigger a broad cytokine response and synergize with immune modulators to induce cell death. Here, we identify a differential requirement of TRAIL or TNFα as mediators of IFNα/Smac mimetic-induced cell death depending on the cellular context. Subtoxic concentrations of Smac mimetics cooperate with IFNα to induce cell death in various solid tumor cell lines in a highly synergistic manner as determined by combination index. Mechanistic studies show that IFNα/BV6 cotreatment promotes the formation of a caspase-8-activating complex together with the adaptor protein FADD and RIP1. Assembly of this RIP1/FADD/caspase-8 complex represents a critical event, since RIP1 silencing inhibits IFNα/BV6-induced cell death. Strikingly, pharmacological inhibition of paracrine/autocrine TNFα signaling by the TNFα scavenger Enbrel rescues HT-29 colon carcinoma cells, but not A172 glioblastoma cells from IFNα/BV6-induced cell death. By comparison, A172 cells are significantly protected against IFNα/BV6 treatment by blockage of TRAIL signaling through genetic silencing of TRAIL or its cognate receptor TRAIL receptor 2 (DR5). Despite this differential requirement of TNFα and TRAIL signaling, mRNA and protein expression is increased by IFNα/BV6 cotreatment in both cell lines. Interestingly, A172 cells turn out to be resistant to exogenously added recombinant TNFα even in the presence of BV6, whereas they display a high sensitivity towards TRAIL/BV6. In contrast, BV6 efficiently sensitizes HT-29 cells to TNFα while TRAIL only had limited efficacy. This demonstrates that a differential sensitivity towards TRAIL or TNFα determines the dependency on either death receptor ligand for IFNα/Smac mimetic-induced cell death. Thus, by concomitant stimulation of both death receptor systems IFNα/Smac mimetic combination treatment is an effective strategy to induce cell death in TNFα- or TRAIL-responsive cancers.

Catarinella M, Monestiroli A, Escobar G, et al.
IFNα gene/cell therapy curbs colorectal cancer colonization of the liver by acting on the hepatic microenvironment.
EMBO Mol Med. 2016; 8(2):155-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) metastatic dissemination to the liver is one of the most life-threatening malignancies in humans and represents the leading cause of CRC-related mortality. Herein, we adopted a gene transfer strategy into mouse hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to generate immune-competent mice in which TEMs-a subset of Tie2(+) monocytes/macrophages found at peritumoral sites-express interferon-alpha (IFNα), a pleiotropic cytokine with anti-tumor effects. Utilizing this strategy in mouse models of CRC liver metastasis, we show that TEMs accumulate in the proximity of hepatic metastatic areas and that TEM-mediated delivery of IFNα inhibits tumor growth when administered prior to metastasis challenge as well as on established hepatic lesions, improving overall survival. Further analyses unveiled that local delivery of IFNα does not inhibit homing but limits the early phases of hepatic CRC cell expansion by acting on the radio-resistant hepatic microenvironment. TEM-mediated IFNα expression was not associated with systemic side effects, hematopoietic toxicity, or inability to respond to a virus challenge. Along with the notion that TEMs were detected in the proximity of CRC metastases in human livers, these results raise the possibility to employ similar gene/cell therapies as tumor site-specific drug-delivery strategies in patients with CRC.

Filipič B, Gradišnik L, Rihar K, et al.
The influence of royal jelly and human interferon-alpha (HuIFN-αN3) on proliferation, glutathione level and lipid peroxidation in human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells in vitro.
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2015; 66(4):269-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Among royal jelly's (RJ) various biological activities, its possible antitumour activity deserves particular attention. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of RJ, its bioactive component 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10- HDA), and human interferon-alpha (HuIFN-αN3) on the proliferation of human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (CaCo- 2), and ascertain their effect on intracellular glutathione (GSH) level and lipid peroxidation. We studied the antiproliferative (AP) activity of RJ [(0.1 g/10 mL phosphate buffer saline (PBS)], HuIFN-αN3 (1000 I.U. mL⁻¹), 10-HDA at 100.0 μmol L⁻¹, and their different combinations, in the ratio 1:1, 1:2, and 2:1 on CaCo-2 cells. The GSH level was measured by glutathione assay. The lipid peroxidation was measured by malondialdehyde (MDA) assay. Single RJ had a low AP activity: 2.0 (0.5 mg mL⁻¹). HuIFN-αN3 had an AP activity of 2.5 (208.33 I.U. mL⁻¹), while 10-HDA had an AP activity of 1.5 (37.5 μmol mL⁻¹). The highest AP activity of 3.8 was obtained when RJ and HuIFN-αN3 were applied at the ratio 2:1. In that combination the level of GSH was 24.9±2.4 nmol g⁻³ of proteins (vs. 70.2±3.2 nmol g⁻³ in the control) and the level of MDA was 72.3±3.1 nmol g⁻³ (vs. 23.6±9.1 nmol g⁻³ in the control). It is generally assumed that 10-HDA, an important constituent of RJ, together with HuIFN-αN3, is responsible for the inhibition of CaCo-2 cells proliferation in vitro. In our study, however, RJ and HuIFN-αN3 applied at 2:1 decreased the level of GSH the most and significantly increased lipid peroxidation via MDA in CaCo-2 cells. Future studies should show whether these GSH- and MDA-related activities of RJ, HuIFN-αN3, 10-HDA, and their combinations may decrease the tumorigenicity index and tumorigenic potential of various tumour cells in vitro.

Heise R, Amann PM, Ensslen S, et al.
Interferon Alpha Signalling and Its Relevance for the Upregulatory Effect of Transporter Proteins Associated with Antigen Processing (TAP) in Patients with Malignant Melanoma.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0146325 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Interferon alpha (IFNα) is routinely used in the clinical practice for adjuvant systemic melanoma therapy. Understanding the molecular mechanism of IFNα effects and prediction of response in the IFNα therapy regime allows initiation and continuation of IFNα treatment for responder and exclusion of non-responder to avoid therapy inefficacy and side-effects. The transporter protein associated with antigen processing-1 (TAP1) is part of the MHC class I peptide-loading complex, and important for antigen presentation in tumor and antigen presenting cells. In the context of personalized medicine, we address this potential biomarker TAP1 as a target of IFNα signalling.
RESULTS: We could show that IFNα upregulates TAP1 expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with malignant melanoma receiving adjuvant high-dose immunotherapy. IFNα also induced expression of TAP1 in mouse blood and tumor tissue and suppressed the formation of melanoma metastasis in an in vivo B16 tumor model. Besides its expression, TAP binding affinity and transport activity is induced by IFNα in human monocytic THP1 cells. Furthermore, our data revealed that IFNα clearly activates phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT3 in THP1 and A375 melanoma cells. Inhibition of Janus kinases abrogates the IFNα-induced TAP1 expression. These results suggest that the JAK/STAT pathway is a crucial mediator for TAP1 expression elicited by IFNα treatment.
CONCLUSION: We suppose that silencing of TAP1 expression provides tumor cells with a mechanism to escape cytotoxic T-lymphocyte recognition. The observed benefit of IFNα treatment could be mediated by the shown dual effect of TAP1 upregulation in antigen presenting cells on the one hand, and of TAP1 upregulation in 'silent' metastatic melanoma cells on the other hand. In conclusion, this work contributes to a better understanding of the mode of action of IFNα which is essential to identify markers to predict, assess and monitor therapeutic response of IFNα treatment in the future.

Moon CS, Nanji AA, Galor A, et al.
Surgical versus Medical Treatment of Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia: A Cost Comparison.
Ophthalmology. 2016; 123(3):497-504 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to compare the cost associated with surgical versus interferon-alpha 2b (IFNα2b) treatment for ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN).
DESIGN: A matched, case-control study.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 98 patients with OSSN, 49 of whom were treated surgically and 49 of whom were treated medically.
METHODS: Patients with OSSN treated with IFNα2b were matched to patients treated with surgery on the basis of age and date of treatment initiation. Financial cost to the patient was calculated using 2 different methods (hospital billing and Medicare allowable charges) and compared between the 2 groups. These fees included physician fees (clinic, pathology, anesthesia, and surgery), facility fees (clinic, pathology, and operating room), and medication costs. Time invested by patients was calculated in terms of number of visits to the hospital and compared between the 2 groups. Parking costs, transportation, caregiver wages, and lost wages were not considered in our analysis.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of clinic visits and cost of therapy as represented by both hospital charges and Medicare allowable charges.
RESULTS: When considering cost in terms of time, the medical group had an average of 2 more visits over 1 year compared with the surgical group. Cost as represented by hospital charges was higher in the surgical group (mean, $17 598; standard deviation [SD], $7624) when compared with the IFNα2b group (mean, $4986; SD, $2040). However, cost between the 2 groups was comparable when calculated on the basis of Medicare allowable charges (surgical group: mean, $3528; SD, $1610; medical group: mean, $2831; SD, $1082; P = 1.00). The highest cost in the surgical group was the excisional biopsy (hospital billing $17 598; Medicare allowable $3528), and the highest cost in the medical group was interferon ($1172 for drops, average 8.0 bottles; $370 for injections, average 5.4 injections).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data in this group of patients previously demonstrated equal efficacy of surgical versus medical treatment. In this article, we consider costs of therapy and found that medical treatment involved two more office visits, whereas surgical treatment could be more or equally costly depending on insurance coverage.

He Y, Huang J, Wang P, et al.
Emodin potentiates the antiproliferative effect of interferon α/β by activation of JAK/STAT pathway signaling through inhibition of the 26S proteasome.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(4):4664-79 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The 26S proteasome is a negative regulator of type I interferon (IFN-α/β) signaling. Inhibition of the 26S proteasome by small molecules may be a new strategy to enhance the efficacy of type I IFNs and reduce their side effects. Using cell-based screening assay for new 26S proteasome inhibitors, we found that emodin, a natural anthraquinone, was a potent inhibitor of the human 26S proteasome. Emodin preferably inhibited the caspase-like and chymotrypsin-like activities of the human 26S proteasome and increased the ubiquitination of endogenous proteins in cells. Computational modeling showed that emodin exhibited an orientation/conformation favorable to nucleophilic attack in the active pocket of the β1, β2, and β5 subunits of the 26S proteasome. Emodin increased phosphorylation of STAT1, decreased phosphorylation of STAT3 and increased endogenous gene expression stimulated by IFN-α. Emodin inhibited IFN-α-stimulated ubiquitination and degradation of type I interferon receptor 1 (IFNAR1). Emodin also sensitized the antiproliferative effect of IFN-α in HeLa cervical carcinoma cells and reduced tumor growth in Huh7 hepatocellular carcinoma-bearing mice. These results suggest that emodin potentiates the antiproliferative effect of IFN-α by activation of JAK/STAT pathway signaling through inhibition of 26S proteasome-stimulated IFNAR1 degradation. Therefore, emodin warrants further investigation as a new means to enhance the efficacy of IFN-α/β.

Garip A, Schaumberger MM, Wolf A, et al.
Evaluation of a short-term topical interferon α-2b treatment for histologically proven melanoma and primary acquired melanosis with atypia.
Orbit. 2016; 35(1):29-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficiency of series of 6-week treatments with brief intervals (6-week = 1 cycle) of topical Interferon α-2b (IFNα-2b) treatment in primary acquired melanosis (PAM) with atypia and melanoma of the conjunctiva.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Five patients with biopsy-proven PAM with atypia and seven patients with melanoma of the conjunctiva, treated with topical IFNα-2b (1 million units/ml, 5 times daily), were included in the study. All patients had colour photographs and the tumour area was measured manually for each patient before and after treatment.
RESULTS: The median age of 12 patients at initiation of treatment was 61.5 years (range 39-75 years). The mean therapy duration was 2.4 cycles (range 1-6 cycle). Compared to pretreatment lesion dimension, the mean decrease in tumour size were after the first cycle 66% (range 18-98%; p = 0.004; n = 10 patients), after the second cycle 55% (range 10-100%; p = 0.016; n = 7 patients), and after the third cycle 74% (range 23-100%; n = 3 patients). In one patient 6 cycles of topical IFNα-2b were needed. The decrease in size was 22% after the 4(th) cycle, 34% after the 5(th) cycle, and 98% after the 6(th) cycle.
CONCLUSION: Our clinical experience demonstrates promising results of topical IFNα-2b treatment for PAM with atypia and melanoma of the conjunctiva without any local or systemic side effects. However, future multicenter prospective studies are recommended to confirm the efficiency and safety of topical IFNα-2b treatment.

Zhang LY, Huang JS, Pi ZM, Yu MY
Inhibition effect of Peg-IFNα-2b and Imatinib alone or combination on imatinib-resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumors cell lines.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(9):11340-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To investigate the inhibition effect of polyethylene glycol interferon α-2b and imatinib alone or combination on imatinib-resistant GIST cell lines, and to explore the possible mechanism. Imatinib resistant GIST cell lines (GIST-R) were exposured to either Peg-IFNα-2b or imatinib alone or combination. The proliferative inhibition rates and the combination index (CI) values of GIST-R cells were detected by MTT assay. The apoptotic rates of GIST-R cells were detected by flow cytometry. The expression levels of phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR), and Bcl-2 of GIST-R cells were analyzed by Western blot. GIST-R cells presents remarkable resistance to imatinib, and the resistance index (RI) were (P<0.05). And The proliferative inhibition rate and the apoptotic rate of GIST-R cells in combination of Peg-IFNα2b and Imatinib group were higher than those in Peg-IFNα-2b or imatinib alone group (P<0.05). The CI value of Peg-IFNα-2b and imatinib was less than each alone, which had a synergistic effect (CI=0.63). As compared with the control (GIST-R cells without any treatment), the expression levels of p-mTOR and Bcl-2 proteins of GIST-R cells in combination of Peg-IFNα-2b and imatinib group were decreased (P<0.01). The combination of Peg-IFNα-2b and imatinib generats a synergistic effect in GIST-R cells, and reversal of drug resistance. This effect may be related with apoptosis and down-regulation of the expression of p-mTOR.

Yin H, Chen N, Guo R, et al.
Antitumor potential of a synthetic interferon-alpha/PLGF-2 positive charge peptide hybrid molecule in pancreatic cancer cells.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16975 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is the most aggressive malignant disease, ranking as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. Interferon alpha (IFNα) has been used to treat pancreatic cancer, but its clinical application has been significantly hindered due to the low antitumor activity. We used a "cDNA in-frame fragment library" screening approach to identify short peptides that potentiate the antitumor activity of interferons. A short positively charged peptide derived from the C-terminus of placental growth factor-2 (PLGF-2) was selected to enhance the activity of IFNα. For this, we constructed a synthetic interferon hybrid molecule (SIFα) by fusing the positively charged PLGF-2 peptide to the C-terminus of the human IFNα. Using human pancreatic cell lines (ASPC and CFPAC1) as a model system, we found that SIFα exhibited a significantly higher activity than did the wild-type IFNα in inhibiting the tumor cell growth. The enhanced activity of the synthetic SIFα was associated with the activation of interferon pathway target genes and the increased binding of cell membrane receptor. This study demonstrates the potential of a synthetic SIFα as a novel antitumor agent.

Liang KH, Hsu CW, Chang ML, et al.
Peginterferon Is Superior to Nucleos(t)ide Analogues for Prevention of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Chronic Hepatitis B.
J Infect Dis. 2016; 213(6):966-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Clinical factors associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have been extensively studied in antiviral treatment-naive patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection but not in treatment-experienced patients. Owing to the wide availability of antiviral agents that effectively suppress HBV replication, we investigated HCC risk factors in treatment-experienced patients.
METHODS: In a cohort of 330 patients who underwent pretherapeutic liver biopsy, we analyzed the HCC incidence in relationship to clinical parameters. Ultra-deep sequencing of the viral genome was performed on 11 entecavir-treated and pegylated interferon (peginterferon)-treated patients.
RESULTS: Initial univariate/multivariate explorations indicated that cirrhosis and antiviral treatment were independently associated with HCC occurrence. The peginterferon-experienced patients had a lower HCC incidence than the nucleos(t)ide analogue-treated patients (P = .011). The peginterferon and entecavir monotherapy groups also differed in HCC incidence (P = .018). Results of analysis of baseline-matched subgroups concurred with cohort analysis (P = .009 for comparison of peginterferon-experienced vs nucleotide analogue-treated patients; P = .022 for comparison of peginterferon- vs entecavir-treated patients). Viral loads of entecavir-treated patients were constantly suppressed to levels lower than those of peginterferon-treated patients (P < .001). Oncogenic surface antigen truncation mutations were detected in entecavir-treated patients with HCC but not in peginterferon-treated patients (P = .015).
CONCLUSIONS: Treatment by peginterferon was associated with a lower HCC incidence than nucleos(t)ide-analogue treatment in chronic HBV infection.

Tiedemann LM, Manley P, Smith ER, Dagi LR
Visual Field Loss in a Case of Recurrent Cystic Craniopharyngioma During Concomitant Treatment With Pegylated Interferon α-2b.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2016; 38(1):e26-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 13-year-old male with suprasellar cystic craniopharyngioma initially controlled with sequential subtotal resections and proton-beam irradiation was later treated with intracystic pegylated interferon α-2b due to progression and a lack of further surgical options. After initial successful control of recurrent cyst enlargement and stabilization of the ophthalmic examination, progressive and irreversible visual field loss ensued. Imaging revealed intracranial leakage from the intracystic catheter, and direct administration of interferon α-2b was discontinued. Given the recent interest in interferon α-2b, oncologists are advised to vigilantly monitor patients for signs of local toxicity that may result from unintended leakage during intracystic delivery.

Ariën F, Aleman JM, Op de Beeck B, Tjalma WA
Treatment of Aggressive Pelvic Fibromatosis With Interferon.
Obstet Gynecol. 2015; 126(6):1219-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Fibromatosis is a rare, noninvasive but aggressive tumor. The tumor displaces tissue by "pushing" the normal structures aside. Optimal treatment should be individualized.
CASE: A 35-year-old woman presented with a recurrent fibromatosis, which filled the vagina and extended into the pelvis. The classical surgical removal would have had a high morbidity. Therefore, it was decided, after shared decision-making, to opt for treatment with interferon. The side effects of the therapy were tolerable, and a complete regression of the fibromatosis was achieved. At present, 13 years after the diagnosis and 7 years after discontinuation of the therapy, the patient is well with no signs of disease.
CONCLUSION: Interferon may be considered as primary treatment for extensive pelvic fibromatosis.

Su Y, Cheng R, Zhang J, et al.
Interferon-α2b gene-modified human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells inhibit hepatocellular carcinoma by reducing the Notch1 levels.
Life Sci. 2015; 143:18-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver cancer worldwide. IFN-α has been used in clinics as a potential therapeutic strategy to treat HCC. In spite of the therapeutic effects, IFN-α caused many side effects due to its short half-life and high dose. Here, we aim to detect the anti-tumor effect of a novel gene delivery system - IFN-α2b gene-modified human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) in HCC.
MAIN METHODS: Two HCC cell lines, HepG2 and Huh7 were used in the current study. The secretion of IFN-α2b in the BMSC cultured conditioned media (CM) was measured by ELISA. The cell cycle was determined by flow cytometry. The Xenografted NOD/SCID mouse tumor model was generated by subcutaneous inoculation with HepG2 cells.
KEY FINDINGS: We found that the IFN-α2b-modified BMSC (BMSC/IFN-α2b) could express IFN-α2b stably. The CM from BMSC/IFN-α2b inhibited the proliferation of HCC cells with a much lower growth rate compared with BMSC/vector-CM or DMEM culture group. We further demonstrated that the population of G2/M phase was higher in BMSC/IFN-α2b-CM treated cells than the other two groups. In addition, BMSC/IFN-α2b could significantly inhibit tumor growth in NOD/SCID mice. Moreover, we found that BMSC/IFN-α2b-CM could significantly decrease the mRNA and protein levels of Notch signaling molecules of HCC in vitro and in vivo.
SIGNIFICANCE: Our data demonstrated that BMSC/IFN-α2b could significantly inhibit HCC cell growth through negatively regulating the Notch signaling, which suggested that IFN-α2b-modified BMSC may be used as an effective therapeutic strategy for hepatomas.

Wang R, Jing G, Lv J, et al.
Interferon-α-2b as an adjuvant therapy prolongs survival of patients with previously resected oral muscosal melanoma.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(4):11944-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Two major subtypes of melanoma include cutaneous melanoma and mucosal melanoma. The latter type is rare and usually occurs in the head and neck region. High-dose interferon-α-2b (IFN-α-2b) has proven effective in the treatment of cutaneous melanoma. Recently, a regimen of temozolomide plus cisplatin was reported more likely to improve relapse-free survival and overall survival than high-dose IFN-α-2b for mucosal melanoma. We conducted this study to analyze the therapeutic effect of high-dose IFN-α-2b for patients with oral mucosal melanoma who had received prior chemotherapy. One hundred and seventeen patients with stage III-IVa oral mucosal melanoma who had received chemotherapy were analyzed. The overall survival and relapse-free survival were compared between the patients with/without high-dose IFN-α-2b. The results indicate that the IFN-α-2b treatment group had a longer relapse-free survival rate (P = 0.0169) as compared to the control group. However, the overall survival was not significant between the two groups (P = 0.096), except in patients in stage IVa, whose overall survival increased by 20 months (P = 0.0146). The adverse reactions included a drug-induced influenza-like syndrome, gastrointestinal responses, myelosuppression, and hepatoxicity, which were predominantly of grade 1-2 and reversible. Thus, patients with resected oral mucosal melanoma, even those who have received chemotherapy, could benefit from the treatment of high-dose IFN-α-2b.

Mohr P, Hauschild A, Trefzer U, et al.
Intermittent High-Dose Intravenous Interferon Alfa-2b for Adjuvant Treatment of Stage III Melanoma: Final Analysis of a Randomized Phase III Dermatologic Cooperative Oncology Group Trial.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(34):4077-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and quality of life (QoL) in patients receiving intravenous, intermittent high-dose interferon alfa-2b (IFN-α-2b [iHDI]) compared with standard high-dose IFN-α-2b (HDI).
PATIENT AND METHODS: Patients with stage III resected lymph node or in-transit metastasis from cutaneous malignant melanoma were randomly assigned to receive either a standard HDI regimen or three courses of IFN-α-2b 20 MIU/m(2) administered intravenously 5 days a week for 4 weeks then repeated every 4 months. Distant metastasis-free survival was the primary end point for efficacy analysis. In addition, relapse-free survival, overall survival, safety as determined by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events criteria, and QoL were secondary end points.
RESULTS: Of 649 patients enrolled, 22 patients were excluded from the intent-to-treat analysis. The remaining 627 patients were well balanced between the arms according to sex, age, and stage. After a median follow-up of 55 months, a multivariable Cox model revealed no significant differences for distant metastasis-free survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21; P = .12) or overall survival (HR, 1.01; P = .85). In contrast, the difference for relapse-free survival was significant (HR, 1.27; P = .03), favoring standard HDI. Early termination of treatment because of adverse events or QoL occurred significantly more often with HDI than with iHDI (26.0% v 14.8%; P < .001).
CONCLUSION: Although the safety and QoL profiles for the intermittent regimen were favorable, no significant difference was observed for survival while the HR for relapse with iHDI was increased. Therefore, an iHDI regimen, as tested here, cannot be recommended as adjuvant treatment for high-risk melanoma.

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