Using BCG as Adjuvant in Addition to Primary Therapy for Stage I-III Melanoma (Mature Results of a Phase III Study)
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group through the NCI-sponsored Cancer Cooperative Group Program
Purpose of the Study
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is known to bring about an immune response that may improve resistance to certain tumors tested in the laboratory. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of BCG, alone or in combination with another chemotherapy drug, dacarbazine, to prevent relapse and improve survival for patients with high-risk melanoma who had been surgically treated. Dacarbazine is a chemotherapy drug used for more advanced stages of melanoma.
No benefit was shown using BCG alone or in combination with dacarbazine when treating stage I-III melanoma and its use is not recommended.
There are unlikely to be subsequent studies using this approach as it quite conclusive from this study and others that this approach will not be successful. Further studies with this approach are not warranted.
Number of Participating Patients
Patients had melanoma and had surgical treatment. Some patients had melanoma that had not spread. Others had melanoma that had spread into lymph nodes.
Patients were divided into four groups and then assigned to one of two sub-groups. In the first sub-group, patients received either observation alone or received the drug BCG. In the second sub-group, patients received either BCG alone or in combination with dacarbazine. Treatment was given in eight-week cycles for 18 months.
The most frequent side effects were nausea and vomiting, and inflammation and abscesses at the injection site (infection).