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BACKGROUND: The safety and efficacy of immunotherapy with histamine dihydrochloride (HDC), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-alpha2b (IFN) compared with dacarbazine (DTIC) in adult patients with stage IV melanoma was evaluated. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two hundred and forty-one patients were randomized to either receive repeated 4-week cycles of IFN [3 MIU, s.c., once daily for 7 days], IL-2 (2.4 MIU/m(2), s.c., twice a day for 5 days) and HDC (1 mg, s.c., twice a day for 5 days) or DTIC 850 mg/m(2) i.v. every 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was overall survival. RESULTS: Median survival was longer for patients receiving HDC/IL-2/IFN (271 days) than for patients receiving DTIC (231 days), but this did not achieve statistical significance. Four patients receiving HDC/IL-2/IFN and nine receiving DTIC experienced at least one grade 4 adverse event. Striking differences in overall survival were observed between countries participating in the study. CONCLUSION: Treatment with HDC/IL-2/IFN was safely administered on an outpatient basis, but this immunotherapeutic regimen did not improve upon the response rate and overall survival seen with DTIC.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Oncol

Publication Date





1691 - 1697


Adult, Aged, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Dacarbazine, Female, Histamine, Humans, Immunotherapy, Interferon alpha-2, Interferon-alpha, Interleukin-2, Male, Melanoma, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Neoplasm Staging, Recombinant Proteins