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High dose Interferon, after operative removal of higher risk skin melanoma, is better than melanoma antigen Gm-2 administration as adjuvant therapy

Administration of high dose interferon, after removal of higher risk skin melanoma, has been shown to reduce the subsequent relapse risk of this cancer; such adjuvant therapy is now standard best therapy. However, such high dose interferon has only modest efficacy and is often toxic. Vaccines (such as cell lysates and shed antigens) have recently been developed and show promise in the advanced disease setting. Ganglioside GM-2 is a highly antigenic/immunogenic melanoma cell antigen that shows promise in this context. In a recently reported trial ( J Clin Oncol 19: 2370-80; 2001), higher risk melanoma patients were randomised to post-operatively receive high dose interferon or GM-2. The study was a large and hence credible one involving 880 patients and showed a superiority for high dose interferon.