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Advances in cancer immunotherapy.

Ever since cancer and its relationship to the immune system were recognized, there has been interest in using the body's immune system to combat malignant disease. Substantial strides have been made recently, although they have not been applied as actively in otolaryngology as they have in other fields. Nevertheless, otolaryngologists should be familiar with the exciting progress that has been made in cancer immunotherapy.

Immune stimulation has been successful in causing regression of metastatic carcinoma in humans. It is now possible to produce recombinant interleukin-2 (IL-2). This cytokine ordinarily is produced by helper T lymphocytes, and it is important in the regulation of immune reactions. IL-2 has caused regression of metastatic renal carcinoma and metastatic melanoma. In addition, genes involved in coding cancer antigens have been identified, along with the immunogenic peptides associated with these antigens. Consequently, it has become possible to create immune recognition of cancer antigens through immunization and through adoptive transfer of antitumor lymphocytes into a lymphodepleted host.

The progress in the treatment of melanoma and other cancers through immunotherapy has been exciting, and most encouraging. While there has been less success in generating clinically effective antitumor immune cells against the squamous cell carcinoma seen most commonly in otolaryngology patients, these preliminary successes certainly are encouraging. Any otolaryngologist caring for patients with malignant disease would be well advised to remain current in this important field. A recent article by Stephen A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, and the references cited in that article are recommended for the otolaryngologist interested in reviewing the state of the art. (1)

Reference

(1.) Rosenberg SA. Development of effective immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with cancer. J Am Coll Surg 2004; 198:685-96.

ROBERT T. SATALOFF, MD, DMA

Editor-in-Chief

EAR, NOSE & THROAT JOURNAL
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Sataloff, Robert T.
Publication:Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:290
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