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Aldesleukin is a recombinant interleukin-2 that is approved for use in patients with renal cell carcinoma and appears to act indirectly by increasing the activity of the host's immune system.Response rates of 13 to 20% and 18 to 31%, respectively, have been achieved after intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) administration of aldesleukin to patients with renal cell carcinoma. These response rates are greater than those previously reported (≈10%) for other agents such as progestins and vinblastine. Median survival times of at least 37 months have been achieved with aldesleukin. Patients with a good prognosis will benefit most from aldesleukin therapy.Adverse events occur frequently and may be severe enough to limit or discontinue treatment. Aldesleukin is better tolerated after SC than IV administration and in low rather than high doses.Renal cell carcinoma carries a poor prognosis and does not respond well to treatment. Although long-term comparative data are needed to confirm the efficacy of aldesleukin, this agent appears to be a useful antitumour agent in patients with this difficult-to-treat cancer.