Skin Cancer Home > Proleukin

Proleukin is a chemotherapy drug prescribed to treat kidney cancer or skin cancer that has spread to the other areas of the body (metastasized). It is a type of immunotherapy treatment, which means it uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. This medication is administered intravenously by your healthcare provider.

What Is Proleukin?

Proleukin® (aldesleukin) is a prescription immunotherapy medication. Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. This medication is approved to treat the following types of cancer:
 
  • Metastatic melanoma (skin cancer that has spread to other areas of the body)
  • Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer that has spread to other areas of the body).
 
(Click Proleukin Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes This Medication?

Proleukin is made by Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.
 

How Does Proleukin Work?

Proleukin is in a class of medications known as biological response modifiers. It is a version of a natural human protein known as interleukin-2. Natural interleukin-2 stimulates T-cell production by the body. T-cells are a type of white blood cell made by the immune system. They attack harmful substances in the body, such as cancer cells. By increasing T-cell production, Proleukin may help the body fight off cancer cells.
 

Clinical Effects

Proleukin has been studied in people with metastatic kidney cancer and those with metastatic skin cancer. In the studies involving kidney cancer, 7 percent of people given Proleukin had no evidence of cancer after treatment and 8 percent had at least a partial response to treatment. The response lasted from 3 to over 131 months.
 
In the studies involving skin cancer, 6 percent of people given Proleukin had no evidence of cancer after treatment and 10 percent had at least a partial response to treatment. The response to treatment lasted from 1 to over 122 months.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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