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Eigentler, T. K.; Gutzmer, R.; Hauschild, A.; Heinzerling, L.; Schadendorf, D.; Nashan, D.; Hölzle, E.; Kiecker, F.; Becker, J.; Sunderkötter, C.; Moll, I.; Richtig, E.; Pönitzsch, I.; Pehamberger, H.; Kaufmann, R.; Pföhler, C.; Vogt, T.; Berking, C.; Praxmarer, M.; Garbe, C. (2016): Adjuvant treatment with pegylated interferon alpha-2a versus low-dose interferon alpha-2a in patients with high-risk melanoma: a randomized phase III DeCOG trial(aEuro). In: Annals of Oncology, Vol. 27, No. 8: pp. 1625-1632
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Pegylated-interferon (IFN)-alpha did not improve the outcome over low-dose IFN-alpha in the adjuvant treatment of intermediate and high-risk melanoma patients. A higher percentage of patients under pegylated-IFN-alpha discontinued treatment due to toxicity.Adjuvant treatment with interferon (IFN)-alpha-2a improved disease-free survival (DFS) and showed a trend for improving overall survival (OS) in melanoma. This trial was designed to examine whether PEG-IFN is superior to IFN with regard to distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), DFS and OS. In this multicenter, open-label, prospective randomized phase III trial, patients with resected cutaneous melanoma stage IIA(T3a)-IIIB (AJCC 2002) were randomized to receive PEG-IFN (180 mu g subcutaneously 1x/week;24 months) or IFN alpha-2a (3MIU subcutaneously 3x/week;24 months). Randomization was stratified for stage, number of metastatic nodes, age and previous IFN treatment. The primary end point was DMFS;secondary end points were OS, DFS, quality of life (QoL) and tolerability. A total of 909 patients were enrolled (451 PEG-IFN versus 458 IFN). Neither 5-year DMFS [PEG-IFN 61.0% versus IFN 67.3%;hazard ratio (HR) 1.16, P = 0.21] nor 5-year OS (PEG-IFN 73.2% versus IFN 75.2%;HR 1.05, P = 0.70) nor 5-year DFS (PEG-IFN 57.3% versus IFN 60.9%;HR 1.09, P = 0.40) showed significant differences. Subgroup analyses in patients +/- ulcerated primaries and of different tumor stages did not find differences in DMFS, OS or DFS between the treatment groups. One hundred and eighteen patients (26.2%) in the PEG-IFN and 61 patients (13.3%) in the IFN population did not receive the full dosage and length of treatment due to adverse events (P < 0.001). Leukopenia and elevation of liver enzymes were more common in the PEG-IFN arm (56% versus 23.5% LCP;19.1% versus 9.4% AST;33.0% versus 16.5% ALT). QoL was identical for nearly all domains. PEG-IFN did not improve the outcome over IFN. A higher percentage of patients under PEG-IFN discontinued treatment due to toxicity. NCT00204529.