Purpose: High-dose interleukin 2 (HDIL2) produces durable tumor regressions in 10% of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and melanoma. However, a major toxicity is vascular leak syndrome (VLS).We previously reported elevated serum angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) in septic patients with vascular leak and hypothesized that Ang2 might also contribute to HDIL2 VLS. Experimental Design: Blood was collected from 14 patients receiving HDIL2 and from 4 patients receiving HDIL2 and bevacizumab, an antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The effect of Ang2 was studied in vitro by incubating high Ang2 patient serum with cultured endothelial cells. Results: Pretreatment Ang2 levels were in the reference range (median, 3.3 ng/mL) and rose with each day of IL-2 therapy (median peak, 29.7 ng/mL). No trend was seen in free VEGF levels during therapy. Patients treated with HDIL2 and bevacizumab all developed VLS and elevated Ang2. High Ang2 patient sera induced propermeability structural changes in endothelial cells, an effect reversed by blockade with the competitive ligand angiopoietin 1 (Ang1). Conclusions: Ang2 may be a mediator of HDIL2 VLS as evidenced by (a) an increase in Ang2 in all patients on HDIL2; (b) the effect of high Ang2 patient serum on cultured endothelial cells; (c) rescue of those structural changes by Ang1. The lack of correlation between VLS and serum VEGF levels in patients treated with HDIL2 alone or in combination with bevacizumab suggests that VEGF is not a major contributor to VLS or Ang2 release. These data suggest that the inhibition of Ang2 may mitigate VLS in patients receiving HDIL2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research