American Cancer Society phase I trial of naturally produced β-interferon
Interferon Type I
Naturally produced beta-interferon was evaluated following i.m. and i.v. administration to 18 patients with advanced cancer. Fever (mean +/- S.E. = 38.1 degrees +/- 1.7 degrees), enhancement of natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and depression of the white blood cell count occurred following a single i.m. injection in the absence of detectable serum antiviral activity. Fever, rigors, and fatigue were dose-limiting toxicities following daily i.v. administration of 10 million units. Tachyphylaxis, as reported following repetitive administration of alpha-interferons, did not occur. Side effects, depression of the white blood cell count, and enhancement of natural killer cell cytotoxicity were similar when beta-interferon was administered daily as a 10-min bolus or as a 6-hr infusion. However, while natural killer cell cytotoxicity increased progressively over 10 days of bolus injections, it was maximal after the initial 6-hr infusion of beta-interferon. Administration of 10 million units of beta-interferon divided equally between a 10-min bolus injection and a 3-hr infusion was well tolerated and resulted in high initial peak and lower sustained serum interferon levels. Based on pharmacokinetic criteria, this schedule of administration can be recommended for further study in Phase II trials. However, in light of the biological activity of beta-interferon following i.m. administration, the level of beta-interferon in the serum may have limited value as a predictor of antitumor response, toxicity, or biological response modification.