Background: In our 2007 retrospective study, we reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (acute-phase response factor) (STAT3) gene were significantly associated with better response to interferon (IFN)-α in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). Objective: To prospectively confirm those results, the Japan Immunotherapy SNPs-Study Group for Kidney Cancer conducted this trial. Design, setting, and participants: In this multicenter, prospective study, 203 eligible patients were enrolled. We evaluated the correlation between the antitumor effects of IFN-α and 11 SNPs (STAT3-2, STAT3-0, SOCS3-1, IL4R-34, PTGS1-3, PTGS1-4, PTGS1-5, PTGS2-12, IRF2-67, ICSBP-38, and TAP2-5) in eight genes in 180 patients who received IFN-α for >12 wk. Interventions: Patients were treated with three doses per week of IFN-α 5 million IU. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: We analyzed the association of response to IFN-α and overall survival (OS) with genetic polymorphisms using a chi-square test and a logistic regression model. Results and limitations: The response rate of IFN-α was 13.8% (28 of 203 patients; 9 complete responses [CRs], 19 partial responses [PRs]). The CR rate of 4.4% was higher than we expected. Response to IFN-α was not associated with any of the 11 SNPs examined. However, when we assessed patients with CR, PR, and stable disease >24 wk as a group representing those with clinical response, a significant association was observed between STAT3-2 (rs1905341) and the clinical response of IFN-α (p = 0.039). Namely, C/C genotype of STAT3-2 was significantly associated with the clinical response of IFN-α and OS. These results were generated in Japanese patients and should be studied in other ethnic groups. Conclusions: This is the first prospective study demonstrating that a STAT3 polymorphism can be a predictive marker for treatment with IFN-α for patients with mRCC.
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