Combination chemotherapy-radiotherapy with and without the methanol-extraction residue of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (MER) in small cell carcinoma of the lung: a prospective randomized trial of the Piedmont Oncology Association

Cancer. 1982 Jul 1;50(1):48-52. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19820701)50:1<48::aid-cncr2820500110>;2-u.


The effect of addition of the nonspecific immunostimulant, MER, to combined treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in small cell carcinoma of the lung was evaluated in a prospective randomized trial involving 102 evaluable patients. Chemotherapy consisted of cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin, vincristine, methotrexate, and CCNU; and radiotherapy was administered to the primary lesion, mediastinum, supraclavicular areas, and whole brain. Of 47 patients administered MER 400 mcg intradermally every six weeks, 12 (26%) attained complete remission with a median survival of 22.9 months. Complete remission was observed in 17 (31%) of 55 patients who received no MER with a median survival of 20.0 months (P greater than 0.05). Survival greater than or equal to 2 years has been observed in five patients who received MER and two patients who did not receive MER. The response rate and duration, survival, and toxicity of the two treatment arms were similar with the exception of cutaneous and occasional systemic reaction to MER. MER as used in this study has not influenced the overall results of a combined modality treatment program for patients with small cell carcinoma of the lung.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium bovis*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BCG Vaccine
  • methanol extraction residue (MER) tubercle bacillus fraction