Long-term adjuvant immunotherapy in stage I high risk malignant melanoma, comparing two BCG preparations versus non-treatment in a randomised multicentre study (EORTC Protocol 18781)

Eur J Cancer. 1993;29A(9):1237-42. doi: 10.1016/0959-8049(93)90064-m.


The present study reports the results of a multicentre adjuvant trial with BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) in high risk patients (Breslow thickness > or = 1.5 mm, Clark level > or = III) with malignant melanoma, after surgical removal of their primary tumour. The trial was specifically designed in order to resolve the controversy and to provide some definite answers regarding the value of adjuvant BCG treatment in stage I malignant melanoma. Patients were randomised to either BCG RIV (108 patients) or BCG Pasteur (109 patients) for 3 years or to follow-up only (110 patients). The two vaccines used had greatly divergent properties regarding their mode of preparation, their composition and their immunomodulating activities. Of the 353 randomised patients, 23 were ineligible, 3 refused participation after randomisation and 327 were evaluable for final analysis. Median follow-up time was 6 years (range 0-10 years). The log-rank test comparison showed no statistical difference between the three arms regarding time to progression (P = 0.55) and duration of survival (P = 0.82). Treatment was generally well tolerated, with no major adverse events in either treatment arm. These findings confirm data with different BCG preparations and with stage II melanoma which also demonstrated no benefit regarding patient survival and time to relapse.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BCG Vaccine / adverse effects
  • BCG Vaccine / chemistry
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*


  • BCG Vaccine