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August 30, 1976

Cancer Immunotherapy

Author Affiliations

Medical Oncology-Hematology Group of Southern California Inc Culver City

JAMA. 1976;236(9):1012. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270100014013

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To the Editor.—  The discussion of BCG vaccine by Hersh et al (235:646, 1976) is appropriately subtitled "Potential, Practical Considerations, and Precautions in Human Cancer Immunotherapy." However, despite occasional conservatism in the interpretation of results and advising therapy, for the most part, the tone and substance of the article is disturbingly inconsistent, precipitous, and—we strongly suspect—misleading to readers unsophisticated in this field.The authors conclude that there is sufficient evidence that BCG immunotherapy is indicated in acute myelocytic leukemia (ML) based on the following: (1) three trials, which the authors term controversial, using different types of BCG administered by different techniques with and without leukemic cells (these preliminary data should not be used to mandate any form of therapy), (2) data from a single study using methanol extractable residue (MER) that appears to prolong remission duration in a preliminary report (MER's parallel effects to live BCG are as yet undetermined),