Specific Active Immunotherapy for Melanoma

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Abstract

The most effective immunization historically has been active immunization against a specific disease process. We report here the results of specific active immunization of 719 patients with invasive melanoma. The patients were sequentially immunized with approximately 2.5 × 107 x-irradiated, neuraminidase treated melanoma cells and BCG was used for its adjuvant effect. The sites of primary tumor location included trunk (42%), extremity (35%), head and neck (15%), unknown (3%), eye (2%) and mucocutaneous (1%). Two hundred thirty-six Clark's Level III patients with Stage I disease experienced an 88% survival ar four years while 47 Stage II patients had an observed survival of 82% during this same lime period. Very similar statistics were observed for 124 State I Clark's Level IV patients and 70 Stage II patients. Nineteen and 26 Clark's Level V patients with Stage I and Stage II disease realized a 100% and 55% observed survival at four years respectively. Fifty-two patients with either an unknown primary and metastatic disease prior to immunotherapy or mucous membrane primaries with metastatic disease prior to immunization were observed to have a 65% survival at four years while invasive ocular primary patients without metastatie disease prior to immunotherapy had a 70% four year survival in the 19 patients evaluable. The largest number of patients fall in the first two years of follow-up, therefore, the degree of confidence concerning the survival statistics for years 3 and 4 is broad at this point in time. Further follow-up with careful evaluation will be required before definition statements can be made and comparisons can be elicited. The overall survival statistics do, however, encourage continued evaluation of specific active immunotherapy for patients with invasive melanoma with both Stage I and Stage II disease.

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