• T cell;
  • adoptive immunotherapy;
  • autologous tumour vaccine;
  • IL-2;
  • in vitro;
  • sensitization;
  • renal cell cancer

A patient with von Hippel Lindau disease, bilateral symmetric renal cell carcinoma and pulmonary metastases treated with immunotherapy is the subject of this study. A left kidney and tumour mass were removed and the tumour cells used to make an autologous tumour/bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine as part of the treatment protocol. The patient's pulmonary nodules responded, but the remaining renal nodule subsequently grew. Samples of both tumours were obtained allowing for an internally controlled evaluation of the histological and immunohistologic differences between a responding and non-responding tumour nodule after therapy. The immunotherapy protocol is designed to promote a T cell response to autologous tumour. Cellular infiltrates were demonstrated in both responding and non-responding nodules compared with the pretreatment tumour specimen, but the responding nodule contained proportionately more T cells as well as markedly increased numbers of plasma cells and granulocytes. This suggested that several arms of the immune system may have been operative in the responding nodule.