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01.04.2003 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2003

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy 4/2003

Bcl-2 expression in metastatic malignant melanoma. Importance for the therapeutic efficacy of biochemotherapy

Zeitschrift:
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy > Ausgabe 4/2003
Autoren:
Annika Håkansson, Bertil Gustafsson, Avni Abdiu, Lennart Krysander, Leif Håkansson
Wichtige Hinweise
This work was supported by the County Council of Östergötland, Sweden.

Abstract

For the majority of patients with metastatic malignant melanoma the prognosis is poor. Immunotherapy and biochemotherapy have shown promise with a subset of durable responses, but there is still a great need for a better understanding of the mechanisms of action during treatment to optimize future treatment schedules. In the present study Bcl-2 expression was studied in biopsies from ten patients with metastatic malignant melanoma (five with regional disease and five with systemic disease) treated with biochemotherapy (cisplatinum 30 mg/m2 days 1–3, DTIC 250 mg/m2 days 1–3 i.v. and Interferon-α2b 10 MIU s.c. 3 days a week, on a 28-day cycle). The expression of Bcl-2 by the tumour cells was separately recorded in areas of histopathological regressive changes and in areas of unaffected tumour growth. Comparisons were made with biopsies from 14 untreated patients. In 10 of 10 treated patients a high expression of Bcl-2 by the tumour cells was found in areas of unaffected tumour growth. In contrast, only in 5 of 13 untreated patients was a high expression of Bcl-2 by the tumour cells found in these areas (P=0.008). A significant difference was also found in the expression of Bcl-2 by the tumour cells between areas of unaffected tumour growth and areas of histopathological regressive changes (P=0.03). The significantly higher expression of Bcl-2 by the tumour cells in areas of unaffected tumour growth in treated patients compared to untreated patients indicates that clones with a high expression of Bcl-2 may be present after therapy, preventing apoptosis and eventually in many patients resulting in progressive disease. Supporting this concept, a difference was also found between the expression of Bcl-2 in areas of unaffected tumour growth, i.e. in areas of treatment failure, and the expression in areas of histopathological regressive changes. Thus immunohistochemical analysis of tumour biopsies shortly after therapy seems to be a good surrogate endpoint that allows a detailed analysis of Bcl-2 expression. The high expression of Bcl-2 shown in unaffected tumour areas after therapy suggests the need for additional treatment, e.g. Bcl-2 antisense therapy.

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