• Adjuvant therapy;
  • interferon;
  • natural killer activity;
  • renal cell carcinoma

Objective To investigate the effect of recombinant α2binterferon therapy on natural killer (NK) activity and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in the peripheral blood in patients with renal cell carcinoma who had undergone radical nephrectomy.

Patients and methods Between January 1988 and June 1989, 20 patients (14 men and six women, mean age 59 years, range 43–80) received interferon (IFN) therapy following radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Thirteen patients had stage I disease, one had stage II and six had stage III; none had metastases.

Results There was a significant increase in NK activity at 5 and 7 months after starting IFN therapy but there was no increase in ADCC.

Conclusions Low doses of IFN administered long-term increased NK activity in patients with renal cell carcinoma. This finding should be helpful in designating protocols for randomized studies of post-operative IFN administration as adjuvant therapy.