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Adjuvant immunotherapy with BCG in squamous-cell bronchial carcinoma. Immune-reactivity in relation to immunostimulation (preliminary results in a controlled trial)
  1. H M Jansen2,
  2. T H The1,
  3. G C De Gast1,
  4. M T Esselink1,
  5. A M Van Der Wal2,
  6. N G M Orie2
  1. 1Clinical Immunology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (head: Professor Dr E Mandema)
  2. 2Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (head: Professor Dr H J Sluiter)

    Abstract

    Jansen, H M, The, T H, de Gast, G C, Esselink, M T, van der Wal, A M, and Orie, N G M (1978).Thorax, 33, 429-438. Adjuvant immunotherapy with BCG in squamous-cell bronchial carcinoma. Immune-reactivity in relation to immunostimulation (preliminary results in a controlled trial). Twenty-nine patients with, at operation, evidence of locally advanced primary squamous-cell bronchial carcinoma (stage II, UICC, Geneva, 1974) had lung resection to remove all the visible tumour. Postoperatively a randomly chosen group of 16 patients received adjuvant BCG immunostimulation by scarifications, while the control group received no adjuvant treatment. Follow-up studies were done from three to 23 months. Immune-reactivity in vivo with PPD and DNCB skin tests, and in vitro with E-rosetting tests and lymphocyte transformation tests with PHA, Con A, diphtheria toxoid, and PPD was monitored in 10 treated and in seven untreated patients. Recurrence rates decreased appreciably in the BCG-stimulated group after a six to 23 months' follow-up (p<0·005). A pronounced increase in both in-vivo and in-vitro immune-reactivity went in parallel with a more favourable clinical outcome in the BCG-treated group. In these cases there was a significant increase in skin reactivity to PPD three months after surgery (p<0·025) and a statistically significant rise in lymphocyte reactivity to Con A (p<0·05), diphtheria toxoid (p<0·01), and PPD (p<0·05) but not to PHA 12 months after surgery. DNCB skin reactivity increased as well in the BCG-treated group, but the number of individuals was too small for statistical evaluation. Increase in immune responsiveness did not occur in the control group and appeared to be independent of the initial immune state of the patients. No differences were found in the numbers of E-rosetting lymphocytes in relation to immunotherapy. It is concluded that adjuvant BCG immunotherapy used in patients with minimal residual bronchial carcinoma improves the prognosis and a favourable clinical outcome is mirrored by an increase in cellular immune reactivity.

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