Cancer Home > What Is Aldesleukin Used For?

If you have melanoma or renal cell carcinoma that has spread to other areas of the body, your healthcare provider may prescribe aldesleukin. This medicine works by increasing production of certain white blood cells in the body, which may help the body to fight off cancer cells. Aldesleukin may also be prescribed for unapproved ("off-label") uses, such as treating colorectal cancer or HIV.

An Overview of Uses for Aldesleukin

Aldesleukin (Proleukin®) is a prescription anticancer medication. It is sometimes referred to as interleukin-2, or IL-2. Aldesleukin is approved to treat the following types of cancer:
 
 
This drug is considered a type of immunotherapy, which is a form of treatment that uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Aldesleukin is used when these cancers have metastasized, which means they have spread beyond the original site to other areas of the body.
 

Using Aldesleukin for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) occurs when cancer cells develop in the lining of small tubes (called tubules) in the kidneys. Although there are other types of kidney cancer, RCC is the most common.
 
The exact cause of kidney cancer is unknown. Also, no one knows why one person will get kidney cancer and another person will not. However, research has shown that certain risk factors can increase the chance of developing the disease. Some of the risk factors that increase the chance of developing kidney cancer include but are not limited to:
 
 
(See Kidney Cancer Risk Factors for more information about these and other risk factors.)
 
Aldesleukin is one of several treatment options for RCC, and treatment often varies by stage of the disease (see Kidney Cancer Treatment By Stage). As stated earlier, the medication is approved to treat RCC that has progressed beyond the kidneys to other areas of the body. Metastatic RCC is also sometimes called advanced kidney cancer, stage IV kidney cancer, or late-stage kidney cancer.
 
Aldesleukin is not effective for everyone. However, in clinical trials 7 percent of people, on average, had no evidence of cancer for 7 to over 131 months after treatment with aldesleukin.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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