Innate immune therapy with a Bacillus Calmette-Guérin cell wall skeleton after radical surgery for non-small cell lung cancer: A case-control study

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, 1-3-3 Nakamichi, Higashinari-ku, Osaka, 537-8511, Japan.
Surgery Today (Impact Factor: 1.53). 02/2009; 39(3):194-200. DOI: 10.1007/s00595-008-3826-3
Source: PubMed


We investigated whether adjuvant immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) cell wall skeleton (CWS) and surgical resection was better than resection, with or without other adjuvant therapy, for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The case group comprised 71 patients who underwent radical surgery for NSCLC, followed by BCG-CWS immunotherapy, with follow-up data available. The case-control study was designed with one control selected for each case-group patient. Each control was matched by pathological stage and year of birth (+/-5 years). BCG-CWS 200 microg was inoculated intracutaneously in the upper arm four times per week (sensitization phase); then at 4-week intervals (therapeutic phase).
The case-group patients received 45 +/- 22.6 (average +/- SD) cycles of BCG-CWS inoculation. Overall 5-year and 10-year survival rates were 71% and 61% for the case-group patients, and 63% and 43% for the control-group patients. The survival rate of the case group was better than that of the control group (not significant; P = 0.114). The same trend was seen in the patients with stage III or N+ NSCLC (not significant; P = 0.114, P = 0.168). There were no life-threatening adverse events.
BCG-CWS immunotherapy seemed to improve survival after resection of NSCLC, especially locally advanced NSCLC. Moreover, this immunotherapy did not compromise quality of life during treatment.

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