Administration of BCG cell wall skeleton into malignant effusions: Toxic and therapeutic effects

S. P. Richman, E. M. Hersh, J. U. Gutterman, G. N. Hortobagyi, G. R. Blumenschein, A. Rios, E. Ribi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Thirty-nine patients wqith 40 refractory malignant effusions (26 pleural and 14 peritoneal) were treated locally with a nonviable mycobacterial vaccine. The vaccine was administered into the effusion and consisted of BCG cell wall skeleton and trehalose dimycolate attached to oil microdroplets. A dose range of 150-3000 μg was tested. The overall response rate was 44.0% (complete response [CR] plus partial response [PR]) and was not clearly dose-related. The response rates for each site were 13.6% (CR) and 31.8% (PR) for pleural effusions and 33.3% (CR) and 8.3% (PR) for peritoneal effusions. Toxic effects consisted of fever (40%), serosal pain (37.5%), and increased effusion (27.5%) and were not clearly dose-related. Gastrointestinal toxic effects were seen in 50% of patients treated for peritoneal effusions. Response correlated with prior exposure to BCG vaccine or tuberculosis, and with a febrile response to vaccine administration. This vaccine has a therapeutic effect on both pleural and peritoneal effusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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