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J Clin Oncol. 1992 Feb;10(2):219-27.

MACOP-B treatment in diffuse large-cell lymphoma: identification of prognostic groups in an Italian multicenter study.

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  • 1Divisione di Ematologia, Ospedale Molinette, Torino, Italy.



The prognosis of advanced-stage diffuse large-cell lymphoma (DLCL) has improved with the use of the third-generation regimens such as methotrexate with leucovorin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone, and bleomycin (MACOP-B). However, different results have been reported. Therefore, we started a cooperative study to confirm the efficacy of MACOP-B. An analysis of prognostic factors was also performed to identify poor-prognosis patients.


Between June 1986 and March 1989, 180 patients with advanced-stage DLCL were treated with MACOP-B. MACOP-B was given according to the original scheme. Numerous clinical features possibly predictive for complete response (CR), disease-free survival (DFS), and survival were analyzed in univariate and multivariate analyses.


One hundred twenty-seven patients (71%) achieved a complete remission, 20 (11%) achieved a partial remission, 24 (13%) had unchanged or progressive disease, and nine (5%) died due to toxicity. With a median follow-up of 28 months, 71% of 127 CRs remain in first remission. Predicted 3-year survival for all 180 patients is 60%, and 3-year DFS for the 127 CRs is 67%. Overall toxicity was acceptable, with mucositis being the most frequent severe side effect. A multivariate regression analysis identified lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level, bone marrow involvement, and tumor burden as independent risk factors for survival. These factors were also important for achievement of remission and DFS and allowed us to identify three distinct risk groups of patients with good, intermediate, and poor prognosis, with 3-year survival rates of 80%, 59%, and %29, respectively.


These results confirm the effectiveness of MACOP-B in advanced-stage DLCL at low or intermediate risk; however, high-risk patients are in urgent need of new therapeutic approaches. A better definition of prognostic features would allow a more reliable comparison of different treatment regimens, as well as an effective tailoring of therapy by prognostic groups.

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