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Bryostatin 1 is a protein kinase C partial agonist which has both antineoplastic and immune-stimulatory properties, including the induction of cytokine release and expansion of tumour-specific lymphocyte populations. In phase I studies, tumour responses have been observed in patients with malignant melanoma, lymphoma and ovarian carcinoma. The dose-limiting toxicity is myalgia. Sixteen patients (age 35-76 years, median 57 years) with malignant melanoma were treated. All had received prior chemotherapy. In each cycle of treatment, patients received bryostatin 25 degrees g m(-2) weekly for three courses followed by a rest week. The drug was given in PET diluent (10 microg bryostatin ml(-1) of 60% polyethylene glycol, 30% ethanol, 10% Tween 80) and infused in normal saline over 1 h. The principal toxicities were myalgia (grade 2, eight patients and grade 3, six patients) and grade 2 phlebitis (four patients), fatigue (three patients) and vomiting (one patient). Of 15 patients evaluable for tumour response, 14 developed progressive disease. One patient developed stable disease for 9 months after bryostatin treatment. In conclusion, single-agent bryostatin appears ineffective in the treatment of metastatic melanoma in patients previously treated with chemotherapy. It should, however, be investigated further in previously untreated patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1337 - 1341


Adult, Aged, Antineoplastic Agents, Bryostatins, Disease Progression, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm, Female, Humans, Lactones, Macrolides, Male, Melanoma, Middle Aged, Skin Neoplasms, Treatment Outcome