Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Relationship of the clinical response and binding of recombinant interferon alpha in patients with lymphoproliferative diseases

  1. CR Faltynek,
  2. GL Princler,
  3. JL Rossio,
  4. FW Ruscetti,
  5. AE Maluish,
  6. PG Abrams, and
  7. KA Foon


Patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) were treated with recombinant interferon alpha A (rIFN- alpha A). The binding of iodinated recombinant interferon-alpha to baseline samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from the leukemia patients was compared with clinical responsiveness to rIFN- alpha A. HCL patients (8/10) responded to rIFN-alpha A therapy, whereas none (0/10) of the CLL patients studied responded. The PBMCs from the eight responsive HCL patients bound approximately twice as much iodinated interferon as the PBMCs from nonresponsive CLL patients. This difference was due to more high-affinity receptors per cell with no difference in the affinity of the interferon-receptor interaction. However, because PBMCs from HCL patients were larger than PBMCs from CLL patients, the cell surface receptor density was similar. The leukemic cells from one of the two nonresponsive HCL patients bound iodinated interferon similarly to the cells from the responsive HCL patients, whereas the leukemic cells from the other nonresponsive HCL patient bound considerably less. The rapidity of response of the HCL patients did not correlate with the level of binding of iodinated interferon. Our results suggest that the absolute number of interferon receptors per cell may be only one of several important parameters in the response to rIFN-alpha A therapy, and that the responsiveness of a particular lymphoproliferative disease or a particular patient to rIFN- alpha A therapy cannot be predicted or explained solely by the degree of interaction between IFN and its cell surface receptor.