Background: The addition of cytokines to chemotherapy (CT) has obtained encouraging but contradictory results in metastatic melanoma. In this phase III trial, we compared the effects of CT [cisplatin, vindesine and dacarbazine (CVD)] with those of concurrent biochemotherapy (bioCT) consisting of CVD plus interleukin-2 and interferon-alpha2b.
Patients and methods: A total of 151 untreated metastatic melanoma patients were randomized, 75 on arm A (cisplatin 30 mg/m2 on days 1-3, vindesine 2.5 mg/m2 on day 1 and dacarbazine 250 mg/m2 on days 1-3), and 76 on arm B (same CVD scheme plus interferon-alpha2b on days 1-5 and interleukin-2 on days 1-5 and 8-15, both administered subcutaneously), either recycled every 3 weeks. Response was assessed every two cycles.
Results: Ten percent of the patients were alive at a median of 52 months from start of therapy. We observed a response rate (RR) of 21% on arm A versus 33% on arm B; three patients (4%) given bioCT had complete responses (CRs). Median time to progression (TTP) was identical; median overall survival (OS) time was 12 months on arm A and 11 months on arm B.
Conclusions: BioCT is not better than CT alone; the trend in favor of the bioCT in terms of RR did not translate into better TTP or OS. Therefore, bioCT cannot be recommended as standard first-line therapy for metastatic melanoma.