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Vaccine. 1995 Apr;13(5):503-8.

Effect of DETOX as an adjuvant for melanoma vaccine.

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Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.


The identification of effective adjuvants is critical for tumor vaccine development. Towards this end, we examined whether the immunogenicity of a melanoma vaccine could be potentiated by DETOX, an adjuvant consisting of monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) and purified mycobacterial cell-wall skeleton (CWS). Nineteen patients with resected stage III melanoma were immunized with a polyvalent melanoma antigen vaccine (40 micrograms) admixed with DETOX, q3 wks x 4. Seven patients received vaccine + low-dose DETOX (10 micrograms MPL + 100 micrograms CWS) and 12 received vaccine + high-dose DETOX (20 micrograms MPL + 200 micrograms CWS). A non-randomized control group of 35 patients was treated similarly with 40 micrograms vaccine + alum. One week after the fourth vaccine immunization, melanoma antibodies were increased over baseline in 7/7 (100%) patients treated with vaccine + low-dose DETOX, 8/12 (67%) patients treated with vaccine + high-dose DETOX, and in 4/19 (21%) of vaccine + alum patients. For the entire DETOX group, the antibody response rate was 15/19 (79%) compared 4/19 (21%) in the alum group (p < 0.001). In contrast, a strong delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response (> or = 15 mm increase in DTH response over baseline) was induced in 50% of the entire DETOX group versus in 47% of the alum group. Median disease-free (DF) survival for the entire DETOX group was 17.8 months compared with 32.1 months in the alum group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, DETOX markedly potentiated antibody but had little effect on DTH responses to melanoma vaccine immunization. It did not appear to improve disease-free survival in comparison to alum in this non-randomized study.

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