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Prolonged survival after immunotherapy (irradiated cancer autografts) for mammary cancers, assessed by a measure of therapeutic deficiency

Anderson, J.M. and Kelly, F. and Gettinby, G. and Wood, S.E. (1977) Prolonged survival after immunotherapy (irradiated cancer autografts) for mammary cancers, assessed by a measure of therapeutic deficiency. Cancer, 40 (1). pp. 30-35. ISSN 0008-543X

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Sixteen women, twelve with stage 2 and four with stage 3 mammary cancers, were given autografts of irradiated cancer cells immediately after simple mastectomy and before postoperative radiotherapy, as a pilot trial with entry limited for ethical and operational reasons. Entry was based upon the presence of the poor prognostic features of tumor diameter exceeding 4 cm, fixation to skin or fascia or presence of axillary lymph nodal metastases. Actuarial survival curves for a period of six years show significant (p < 0.01) prolongation of survival of the small autografted group (63% at six years) compared to that (30% at six years) of 139 ungrafted stage 2 mammary cancer patients treated by mastectomy and postoperative radiotherapy. The concept of deficiency of a treatment based upon person-years lived is introduced and used to analyze the data. The observations and analyses support the theoretical concept that irradiated autografts of cancers may sensitise residual cancer to subsequent conventional radiotherapy and in the process can activate systemic immunological restraints. Cancer 40:30-35, 1977.