Metastatic Melanoma
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How Proleukin Works

How does Proleukin work against metastatic melanoma?

Proleukin helps your immune system by boosting its natural defenses against metastatic melanoma.

Cancer cells can hide from your immune system

Your body naturally produces an important cytokine called interleukin-2 (IL-2), a protein that is part of your immune system. IL-2 activates certain white blood cells (called lymphocytes) to help the immune system fight against diseases and infections. Proleukin (aldesleukin) is a synthetic form of IL-2 that activates your immune system to better recognize and kill cancer cells.

Proleukin attacks metastatic melanoma

Unlike chemotherapy, Proleukin is immunotherapy that specifically activates cancer-attacking cells in your body—causing them to reproduce in greater numbers—so they can target cancer cells and block the spread of metastatic melanoma. Some people with metastatic melanoma have had their cancer tumors completely disappear for over 15 years after treatment with Proleukin.*

  • Objective response was seen in 16% of patients with metastatic melanoma.  In 6% of patients (17/270), tumors completely disappeared (called durable complete response). In 10% (26/270) of patients, tumors shrank (called partial response).

Proleukin also does not limit the use of other metastatic melanoma therapies in the future, keeping your options open. This means your healthcare professional can provide another metastatic melanoma therapy after treatment with Proleukin, if you need it.

Hope is possible with Proleukin
Hope is possible with Proleukin

Objective response was seen in 16% of patients with metastatic melanoma (6% had a complete response and 10% had a partial response). To learn more about Proleukin—and if it might be right for treating your metastatic melanoma—ask your healthcare professional.

Start the conversation

Ask your healthcare professional:

  • How does Proleukin (IL-2) work?
  • Can Proleukin be effective for metastatic melanoma?
  • How does the 15-year data for Proleukin compare to other treatment options?
  • Could Proleukin be an option that is right for me?
Connect with a Proleukin mentor

No one understands your journey with metastatic melanoma quite like someone who has already walked in your shoes. Now, you can connect one-on-one with a mentor who has already had treatment with Proleukin. While these mentors can’t provide any medical advice, they can share valuable insights about their personal experience, including how they are continuing to cope. They are caring people who can help you find information and resources, and support you with their words of encouragement. Reach out today.

Connect Me With a Mentor
“My Proleukin experience”
“My Proleukin experience”

Actual metastatic melanoma survivor

Individual results may vary.

Compensation has been provided to share his experience.

Diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 2006, Bruce had tumors in his hips and spine, and “innumerable tumors” on his liver. Thanks to Proleukin, he’s now cancer-free. “Treatment with Proleukin is not fun,” says Bruce. "My body swelled and puffed up, which was caused by capillary leakage. Then I had diarrhea and nausea, and, toward the end of the treatment period, mental fatigue set in. But the nurses anticipated and expected each of my side effects. I had a PET scan about 6 weeks after starting. All the tumors were gone. The doctor was stunned. I was stunned. When I started treatment I really just wanted to get back to my life. That’s what I hoped would happen. And that’s what happened.”

  • Bruce is a real person who has been cancer-free since 2006. His experience isn’t representative of overall results with Proleukin. In Proleukin clinical studies, about 1 in 17 people with metastatic melanoma had no evidence of disease, ranging from 3 months to 10+ years. Objective response was seen in 16% of patients with metastatic melanoma (6% had a complete response and 10% had a partial response). Individual results may vary.

Proleukin® (aldesleukin) is indicated for the treatment of adults with metastatic melanoma (mM) and metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC).

Summary of Important Safety Information for Proleukin® (aldesleukin) for injection, for intravenous infusion.

Proleukin® (aldesleukin) is indicated for the treatment of adults with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and metastatic melanoma (mM).

Summary of Important Safety Information for Proleukin® (aldesleukin) for injection, for intravenous infusion.


Therapy with Proleukin® (aldesleukin) should be restricted to patients with normal cardiac and pulmonary functions as defined by thallium stress testing and formal pulmonary function testing. Extreme caution should be used in patients with a normal thallium stress test and a normal pulmonary function test who have a history of cardiac or pulmonary disease.

Proleukin should be administered in a hospital setting under the supervision of a qualified physician experienced in the use of anticancer agents. An intensive care facility and specialists skilled in cardiopulmonary or intensive care medicine must be available.

Proleukin administration has been associated with capillary leak syndrome (CLS) which is characterized by a loss of vascular tone and extravasation of plasma proteins and fluid into the extravascular space. CLS results in hypotension and reduced organ perfusion which may be severe and can result in death. CLS may be associated with cardiac arrhythmias (supraventricular and ventricular), angina, myocardial infarction, respiratory insufficiency requiring intubation, gastrointestinal bleeding or infarction, renal insufficiency, edema, and mental status changes.

Proleukin treatment is associated with impaired neutrophil function (reduced chemotaxis) and with an increased risk of disseminated infection, including sepsis and bacterial endocarditis. Consequently, preexisting bacterial infections should be adequately treated prior to initiation of Proleukin therapy. Patients with indwelling central lines are particularly at risk for infection with gram positive microorganisms. Antibiotic prophylaxis with oxacillin, nafcillin, ciprofloxacin, or vancomycin has been associated with a reduced incidence of staphylococcal infections.

Proleukin administration should be withheld in patients developing moderate to severe lethargy or somnolence; continued administration may result in coma.



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.

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. Therefore, selection of patients for treatment should include assessment of performance status.

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



Proleukin® (aldesleukin) is contraindicated in patients with a known history of hypersensitivity to interleukin-2 or any component of the Proleukin formulation.

Proleukin is contraindicated in patients with an abnormal thallium stress test or abnormal pulmonary function tests and those with organ allografts. Retreatment with Proleukin is contraindicated in patients who have experienced the following drug-related toxicities while receiving an earlier course of therapy: sustained ventricular tachycardia (≥ 5 beats), cardiac arrhythmias not controlled or unresponsive to management, chest pain with ECG changes, consistent with angina or myocardial infarction, cardiac tamponade, intubation for > 72 hours, renal failure requiring dialysis > 72 hours, coma or toxic psychosis lasting > 48 hours, repetitive or difficult to control seizures, bowel ischemia/perforation, GI bleeding requiring surgery.



Because of the severe adverse events which generally accompany Proleukin therapy at the recommended dosages, a thorough clinical evaluation should be performed to identify patients with significant heart, lung, kidney, liver or central nervous system impairment in whom Proleukin is not indicated for use. Patients with normal heart, lung, liver and central nervous system function may experience serious, life-threatening or fatal adverse events.

Should adverse events, requiring dose modification occur, dosage should be withheld rather than reduced.

Proleukin has been associated with exacerbation of preexisting autoimmune disease and inflammatory disorders. In some cases, the onset of new autoimmune diseases, such as vitiligo, may occur. Symptomatic hyperglycemia and/or diabetes mellitus have been reported during Proleukin therapy.

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. Neurologic signs and symptoms associated with Proleukin therapy usually improve after discontinuation of Proleukin therapy; however, there are reports of permanent neurologic defects. In patients with known seizure disorders, extreme caution should be exercised as Proleukin may cause seizures.



Patients should have normal cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic, and CNS function at the start of therapy. Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) begins immediately after Proleukin® (aldesleukin) treatment starts and is marked by increased capillary permeability to protein and fluids and reduced vascular tone.

Proleukin® (aldesleukin) treatment should be withheld for failure to maintain organ perfusion as demonstrated by altered mental status, reduced urine output, a fall in the systolic blood pressure below 90 mm Hg or onset of cardiac arrhythmias.

Recovery from CLS begins soon after cessation of Proleukin therapy. Usually, within a few hours, the blood pressure rises, organ perfusion is restored and reabsorption of extravasated fluid and protein begins.

Kidney and liver function are impaired during Proleukin treatment. Use of concomitant nephrotoxic or hepatotoxic medications may further increase toxicity to the kidney or liver.

Mental status changes including irritability, confusion, or depression which occur while receiving Proleukin may be due to bacteremia or early bacterial sepsis, hypoperfusion, occult CNS malignancy, or direct Proleukin-induced CNS toxicity. Patients should be evaluated for these and other causes of mental status changes. Alterations in mental status due solely to Proleukin therapy may progress for several days before recovery begins. Rarely, patients have sustained permanent neurologic deficits.

Proleukin enhancement of cellular immune function may increase the risk of allograft rejection in transplant patients.

Serious manifestations of eosinophilia involving eosinophilic infiltration of cardiac and pulmonary tissues can occur following Proleukin.



The rate of drug-related deaths in the 255 metastatic RCC patients who received single-agent Proleukin® (aldesleukin) was 4% (11/255); the rate of drug-related deaths in the 270 metastatic melanoma patients who received single-agent Proleukin was 2% (6/270).

Adverse events are frequent, often serious, and sometimes fatal. The following adverse events (Grades 1-4) were seen in ≥ 30% of 525 patients (255 with metastatic kidney cancer and 270 with metastatic melanoma) treated with Proleukin: low blood pressure (71%), diarrhea (67%), low urine output (63%), chills (52%), vomiting (50%), shortness of breath (43%), rash (42%), increased bilirubin in blood (40%), decreased clotting of blood (37%), nausea (35%), confusion (34%), and decreased kidney function (33%).

Please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning, for Proleukin® (aldesleukin) for injection, for intravenous infusion.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

The content contained in this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice related to any topic discussed. Patients are urged to consult with their treating physicians or other professionals. Never disregard professional, medical, or legal advice or delay seeking such advice because of something you have read on this website.