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Chemoimmunotherapy of advanced malignant melanoma: sequential administration of subcutaneous interleukin-2 and interferon-alpha after intravenous dacarbazine and carboplatin or intravenous dacarbazine, cisplatin, carmustine and tamoxifen



Chemoimmunotherapy of advanced malignant melanoma: sequential administration of subcutaneous interleukin-2 and interferon-alpha after intravenous dacarbazine and carboplatin or intravenous dacarbazine, cisplatin, carmustine and tamoxifen



European Journal of Cancer 31a(6): 876-881



Both chemotherapy and interleukin-2 and/or interferon-alpha produce objective responses in a proportion of advanced malignant melanoma patients. While duration of response to chemotherapy is short, i.e. usually below 4 months, immunotherapy has resulted in a small number of long-lasting remissions in patients with metastatic melanoma. In two consecutive phase II trials in a total of 67 patients, we assessed the potential synergism between both modalities, i.e. chemo- and immunotherapy. Treatment consisted of intravenous (i.v.) carboplatin (CBDCA, 400 mg/m-2 ) and dacarbazine (DTIC, 750 mg/ml) given twice (i.v. bolus over 30 min) at 3-week intervals, or 4 cycles of DTIC (220 mg/m-2 i.v. 3 days), cisplatin (DDP, 35 mg/m-2 i.v. 3 days), carmustine (BCNU, 150 mg/m-2 i.v. cycles 1 and 3) and tamoxifen (TAM, 20 mg oral/daily) at 3-week intervals. Chemotherapy was followed by immunotherapy with combined subcutaneous (s.c.) interleukin-2 (rIL-2) and SC interferon-alpha-2 (rIFN-alpha). Among 40 patients who received a full cycle of chemotherapy with CBDCA/DTIC and sequential immunotherapy, there were 3 (7.5%) complete remissions (CRs) with a median duration of 19 months (range 13-26+). Partial remissions (PRs) were noted in 11 (27.5%) patients with a median response duration of 8 (range 5-14) months. Among 27 patients who received DTIC/DDP/BCNU/TAM and rIL-2/rIFN-alpha, there were 3 (11%) complete remissions and 12 (44.5%) partial remissions. Duration of complete an partial remissions ranged from 9+ to 13+ (median, 11+), and 5 to 15+ (median, 7+) months, respectively. Chemotherapy produced mostly moderate toxicity. Thrombocytopenia was common with the nadir after a median time of 18 days following start of CBDCA/DTIC and DTIC/DDP/BCNU, respectively. 10 patients required transfusion of thrombocytes. Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy were well tolerated using concomitant ondansetrone (8 mg i.v.). Immunotherapy was self-administered at home with mild to moderate side effects; malaise, fever, chills, nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia and arthralgias were most frequent, but were spontaneously reversible after ending rIL-2/IFN-alpha. A mean 87 and 88% of the projected doses of rIL-2 and rIFN-alpha were administered on either protocol. There were no life-threatening complications and no treatment-related deaths. The sequential combination of chemotherapy and rIL-2 plus rIFN-alpha had at least additive therapeutic activity against metastatic malignant melanoma. The schedules produced long-lasting remissions and were tolerated well overall. These trials substantiate a potential role for low to intermediate dose immunotherapy in maintaining and consolidating therapeutic effects of chemotherapy in metastatic melanoma.

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Accession: 008307008

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PMID: 7646914



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