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J Cell Biochem. 1994 Sep;56(1):52-61.

Rationale for using TNF alpha and chemotherapy in regional therapy of melanoma.

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Centre Pluridisciplinaire d'Oncologie, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Recombinant tumor necrosis factor-alpha (rTNF alpha) has potent antitumor activity in experimental studies on human tumor xenografts. However, in humans, the administration of rTNF alpha is hampered by severe systemic side-effects. The maximum tolerated dose ranges from 350 to 500 mg/m2, which is at least 10-fold less than the efficient dose in animals. Isolation perfusion of the limbs (ILP) allows the delivery of high dose rTNF alpha in a closed system with acceptable side-effects. A protocol with triple-drug regimen was based on the reported synergism of rTNF alpha with chemotherapy, with interferon-gamma, and with hyperthermia. In melanoma-in-transit metastases (stage IIIA or AB) we obtained a 91% complete response, compared with 52% after ILP with melphalan alone. Release of nanograms levels of TNF alpha in the systemic circulation was evident but control of this leakage and appropriate intensive care resulted in acceptable toxicity. Angiographic, immunohistological, and immunological studies suggest that the efficacy of this protocol is due to a dual targeting: rTNF alpha activates and electively lyses the tumor endothelial cells while melphalan is mainly cytotoxic to the tumor cells. ILP with rTNF alpha appears to be a useful model for studying the biochemotherapy of cancer in man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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