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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

See boxed “WARNINGS

Because of the severe adverse events which generally accompany PROLEUKIN® (aldesleukin) therapy at the recommended dosages, thorough clinical evaluation should be performed to identify patients with significant cardiac, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, or CNS impairment in whom PROLEUKIN is contraindicated. Patients with normal cardiovascular, pulmonary, hepatic, and CNS function may experience serious, life threatening or fatal adverse events. Adverse events are frequent, often serious, and sometimes fatal.

Should adverse events, which require dose modification occur, dosage should be withheld rather than reduced (see “DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION” section, “Dose Modifications” subsection).

PROLEUKIN has been associated with exacerbation of pre-existing or initial presentation of autoimmune disease and inflammatory disorders. Exacerbation of Crohn’s disease, scleroderma, thyroiditis, inflammatory arthritis, diabetes mellitus, oculo-bulbar myasthenia gravis, crescentic IgA glomerulonephritis, cholecystitis, cerebral vasculitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and bullous pemphigoid, has been reported following treatment with IL-2.

All patients should have thorough evaluation and treatment of CNS metastases and have a negative scan prior to receiving PROLEUKIN therapy. New neurologic signs, symptoms, and anatomic lesions following PROLEUKIN therapy have been reported in patients without evidence of CNS metastases. Clinical manifestations included changes in mental status, speech difficulties, cortical blindness, limb or gait ataxia, hallucinations, agitation, obtundation, and coma. Radiological findings included multiple and, less commonly, single cortical lesions on MRI and evidence of demyelination. Neurologic signs and symptoms associated with PROLEUKIN therapy usually improve after discontinuation of PROLEUKIN therapy; however, there are reports of permanent neurologic defects. One case of possible cerebral vasculitis, responsive to dexamethasone, has been reported. In patients with known seizure disorders, extreme caution should be exercised as PROLEUKIN may cause seizures.

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

There are currently no FDA safety alerts available for this drug.

Manufacturer Warnings

There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.

FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


PROLEUKIN® (aldesleukin) is indicated for the treatment of adults with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (metastatic RCC).

PROLEUKIN is indicated for the treatment of adults with metastatic melanoma.

Careful patient selection is mandatory prior to the administration of PROLEUKIN. See “CONTRAINDICATIONS”, “WARNINGS” and “PRECAUTIONS” sections regarding patient screening, including recommended cardiac and pulmonary function tests and laboratory tests.

Evaluation of clinical studies to date reveals that patients with more favorable ECOG performance status (ECOG PS 0) at treatment initiation respond better to PROLEUKIN, with a higher response rate and lower toxicity (see “CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY” section, “Clinical Experience” subsection and “ADVERSE REACTIONS” section). Therefore, selection of patients for treatment should include assessment of performance status.

Experience in patients with ECOG PS >1 is extremely limited.


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

PROLEUKIN® (aldesleukin) for injection, a human recombinant interleukin-2 product, is a highly purified protein with a molecular weight of approximately 15,300 daltons. The chemical name is des-alanyl-1, serine-125 human interleukin-2. PROLEUKIN, a lymphokine, is produced by recombinant DNA technology using a genetically engineered E. coli strain containing an analog of the human interleukin-2 gene. Genetic engineering techniques were used to modify the human IL-2 gene, and the resulting expression clone encodes a modified human interleukin-2. This recombinant form differs from native interleukin-2 in the following ways: a) PROLEUKIN is not glycosylated because it is derived from E. coli ; b) the molecule has no N-terminal alanine; the codon for this amino acid was deleted during the genetic engineering procedure; c) the molecule has serine substituted for cysteine at amino acid position 125; this was accomplished by site specific manipulation during the genetic engineering procedure; and d) the aggregation state of PROLEUKIN is likely to be different from that of native interleukin-2.

The in vitro biological activities of the native nonrecombinant molecule have been reproduced with PROLEUKIN.1,2

PROLEUKIN is supplied as a sterile, white to off-white, lyophilized cake in single-use vials intended for intravenous (IV) administration. When reconstituted with 1.2 mL Sterile Water for Injection, USP, each mL contains 18 million IU (1.1 mg) PROLEUKIN, 50 mg mannitol, and 0.18 mg sodium dodecyl sulfate, buffered with approximately 0.17 mg monobasic and 0.89 mg dibasic sodium phosphate to a pH of 7.5 (range 7.2 to 7.8). The manufacturing process for PROLEUKIN involves fermentation in a defined medium containing tetracycline hydrochloride. The presence of the antibiotic is not detectable in the final product. PROLEUKIN contains no preservatives in the final product.

PROLEUKIN biological potency is determined by a lymphocyte proliferation bioassay and is expressed in International Units (IU) as established by the World Health Organization 1st International Standard for Interleukin-2 (human). The relationship between potency and protein mass is as follows:

18 million (18 x 106) IU PROLEUKIN = 1.1 mg protein

Proleukin Manufacturers

  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
    Proleukin (Aldesleukin) Injection [Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation]
  • Prometheus Laboratories Inc.
    Proleukin (Aldesleukin) Injection, Powder, Lyophilized, For Solution [Prometheus Laboratories Inc.]

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