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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Mar;17(3):968-75.

Prospective randomized trial of the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma using chemotherapy with cisplatin, dacarbazine, and tamoxifen alone or in combination with interleukin-2 and interferon alfa-2b.

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Surgery Branch and Department of Biostatistics and Data Management Section, Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



The combination of chemotherapy with immunotherapeutic agents such as interleukin-2 and interferon alfa-2b has been reported to provide improved treatment results in patients with metastatic melanoma, compared with the use of chemotherapy alone. We have performed a prospective randomized trial in patients with metastatic melanoma, comparing treatment with chemotherapy to treatment with chemoimmunotherapy.


One hundred two patients with metastatic melanoma were prospectively randomized to receive chemotherapy composed of tamoxifen, cisplatin, and dacarbazine or this same chemotherapy followed by interferon alfa-2b and interleukin-2. Objective responses, survival, and toxicity in the two groups were evaluated at a median potential follow-up of 42 months.


In 52 patients randomized to receive chemotherapy, there were 14 objective responses (27%), including four complete responses. In 50 patients randomized to receive chemoimmunotherapy, there were 22 objective responses (44%) (P2 = .071), including three complete responses. In both treatment groups, the duration of partial responses was often short, and there was a trend toward a survival advantage for patients receiving chemotherapy alone (P2 = .052; median survival of 15.8 months compared with 10.7 months). Treatment-related toxicities were greater in patients receiving chemoimmunotherapy.


With the treatment regimens used in this study, the addition of immunotherapy to combination chemotherapy increased toxicity but did not increase survival. The use of combination chemoimmunotherapy regimens is not recommended in the absence of well-designed, prospective, randomized protocols showing the benefit of this treatment strategy.

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