• The effect of systemic BCG therapy on advanced melanoma was studied in 42 patients with stage II and stage III disease. Evaluation of the immune response prior and during therapy revealed that patients who failed to convert a negative purified protein derivative (PPD) reaction and those having a low stimulation ratio of lymphocyte cultures had rapidly progressive disease and short survival. Neither tumor regression nor prolongation of survival could be appreciated in patients with stage III disease. Furthermore, aggravation of symptoms was observed in patients with visceral metastases. Fifty percent of the patients with stage II melanoma treated by operation and adjuvant immunotherapy had recurrent or metastatic disease within two years. No adverse effects were noted in patients with early disease who received adjuvant therapy. Two patients who had a full course of systemic BCG therapy developed severe reactions after intralesional injection of the vaccine. Further experience with various immunotherapeutic regimens and longer follow-up are necessary to evaluate its value in the early stages of melanoma.
(Arch Surg 112:257-259, 1977)