December 24, 1973

Reactions to BCG

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

JAMA. 1973;226(13):1570-1571. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230130058031

To the Editor.—  The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine has been used as an anticancer agent at this center for a number of years, sometimes with excellent results.1 -3 During the last few months a more extensive program has been undertaken, and we think that it is imperative at this stage to point out that BCG may provoke serious side effects. This agent is being widely used in the treatment of malignant disease by practitioners, some of whom may not be aware of it's toxicity and may not have adequate facilities to recognize and deal with untoward side effects.We are using either the Glaxo (Glaxo, USA) or the TICE strain (Chicago Research Foundation) and have encountered two reactions, the most severe of which followed the use of the latter agent.In the first type, pyrexia, often as high as 40 C (104 F) accompanied malaise, vomiting, arthralgia, and headache.