High-dose interferon alfa-2b significantly prolongs relapse-free and overall survival compared with the GM2-KLH/QS-21 vaccine in patients with resected stage IIB-III melanoma: Results of intergroup trial E1694/S9512/C509801

J. M. Kirkwood*, J. G. Ibrahim, J. A. Sosman, V. K. Sondak, S. S. Agarwala, M. S. Ernstoff, U. Rao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

755 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Vaccine alternatives to high-dose interferon alfa-2b therapy (HDI), the current standard adjuvant therapy for high-risk melanoma, are of interest because of toxicity associated with HDI. The GM2 ganglioside is a well-defined melanoma antigen, and anti-GM2 antibodies have been associated with improved prognosis. We conducted a prospective, randomized, intergroup trial to evaluate the efficacy of HDI for 1 year versus vaccination with GM2 canjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin and administered with QS-21 (GMK) for 96 weeks (weekly × 4 then every 12 weeks × 8). Patients and Methods: Eligible patients had resected stage IIB/III melanoma. Patients were stratified by sex and number of positive nodes. Primary end points were relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). Results: Eight hundred eighty patients were randomized (440 per treatment group); 774 patients were eligible for efficacy analysis. The trial was closed after interim analysis indicated inferiority of GMK compared with HDI. For eligible patients, HDI provided a statistically significant RFS benefit (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.47, P = .0015) and OS benefit (HR = 1.52, P = .009) for GMK versus HDI. Similar benefit was observed in the intentto-treat analysis (RFS HR = 1.49; OS HR = 1.38). HDI was associated with a treatment benefit in ali subsets of patients with zero to ≥ four positive nades, but the greatest benefit was observed in the node-negative subset (RFS HR = 2.07; OS HR = 2.71 [eligible population]). Antibody responses to GM2 (ie, titers ≥ 1:80) at days 29, 85, 365, and 720 were associated with a trend toward improved RFS and OS (P2 = .068 at day 29). Conclusion: This trial demonstrated a significant treatment benefit of HDI versus GMK in terms of RFS and OS in melanoma patients at high risk of recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2370-2380
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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