Research Article

Failure of BCG immunostimulation to affect the clinical course of Burkitt's lymphoma.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 13 March 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:615
  1. I T Magrath,
  2. J L Ziegler


    A controlled randomised trial was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of BCG immunotherapy in preventing relapse in patients with Burkitt's lymphoma in whom remission had been induced with cyclophosphamide. Twenty-one patients were treated with BCG, and 19 were controls. Eleven patients in each group relapsed during a follow-up period long enough to make it unlikely that further relapses would occur. There were no significant differences in the length of remission or the site of relapse that could be attributed to treatment. Eleven patients died: of these none of the six patients in the BCG group but all of the five in the control group had stage D lymphomas. BCG treatment increased the rate of recovery from tumour-induced immunosuppression, but within the BCG group immunocompetence improved most rapidly in the patients who relapsed-a finding that appears to contradict the tenet retionalising the use of immunological adjuvants as treatment.