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Cancer Gene Ther. 2012 Dec;19(12):852-61. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2012.72. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Cytokine-enhanced vaccine and suicide gene therapy as surgery adjuvant treatments for spontaneous canine melanoma: 9 years of follow-up.

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Unidad de Transferencia Genética, Instituto de Oncología Ángel H. Roffo, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


We present here the updated results after 9 years of the beginning of a trial on canine patients with malignant melanoma. This surgery adjuvant approach combined local suicide gene therapy with a subcutaneous vaccine composed by tumor cells extracts and xenogeneic cells producing human interleukin-2 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Toxicity was absent or minimal in all patients (0≤VCOG-CTCAE grade≤1). With respect to surgery-treated controls (ST), the complete surgery (CS) arm of this combined treatment (CT) significantly increased the fraction of local disease-free patients from 13 to 81% and distant metastases free from 32 to 84%. Even though less effective than the CS arm, the partial surgery (PS) arm of this CT was significantly better controlling the disease than only surgery (14% while PS-ST: 0%, P<0.01 and CS-ST: 5%, P<0.05). In addition, CT produced a significant sevenfold (CS) and threefold (PS) increase in overall survival. The CS-CT arm significantly improved both CS-ST metastasis-free- and melanoma overall survival from 99 days (respective ranges: 11-563 and 10-568) to >2848 days (81-2848 and 35-2848). Thus, more of 50% of our CT patients died of melanoma unrelated causes, transforming a lethal disease into a chronic one. Finally, surgery adjuvant CT delayed or prevented post-surgical recurrence and distant metastasis, significantly improved disease-free and overall survival maintaining the quality of life. Long-term safety and efficacy of this treatment are supported by the high number of CT patients (283) and extensive follow-up (>9 years). The successful clinical outcome encourages the further translation of similar approaches to human gene therapy trials.

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