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Interferons: Effectiveness, Toxicities, and Costs

Ernest C. Borden, MD; and David Parkinson, MD
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University of Maryland Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD 21201 National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892 Requests for Reprints: Ernest C. Borden, MD, University of Maryland Cancer Center, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Borden: University of Maryland Cancer Center, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Dr. Parkinson: Division of Cancer Treatment, National Cancer Institute, 16130 Executive Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1996;125(7):614-615. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-125-7-199610010-00012
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Phase I, II, and III trials that defined the therapeutic effectiveness of interferons for neoplastic, viral, and immunologic diseases have helped improve the quantity and quality of life for thousands of patients. Hematologic malignant conditions have been particularly responsive to interferon treatment, but solid tumors have also been treated successfully. Interferon treatment has also decreased the duration of the symptom phases in viral diseases of DNA and RNA virus origin and have decreased the number and duration of complications of these diseases. As the use of interferons has become more widespread and duration of treatment has increased, these agents themselves have been identified as potent modifiers of biological response. Like glucocorticoids, interferons result in unwanted side effects when given in pharmacologic doses.



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