Cytokines are proteins in the body that activate the immune system. Interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2) are man-made versions of cytokines that are sometimes used to treat patients with advanced-stage melanoma. Interferon is injected intravenously or under the skin and can slow the growth of melanoma cells. It may be offered in addition to surgery for patients with melanoma that has spread to regional lymph nodes (Stage III disease) in order to help prevent further spread of the disease and help prolong survival.