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Blood. 1995 Jul 15;86(2):451-6.

High-dose cyclophosphamide, carmustine (BCNU), and etoposide (VP16-213) with or without cisplatin (CBV +/- P) and autologous transplantation for patients with Hodgkin's disease who fail to enter a complete remission after combination chemotherapy.

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  • 1Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplantation Program of British Columbia, Division of Hematology, Vancouver Hospital, Canada.


Patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) who fail to enter a complete remission after an initial course of combination chemotherapy are usually considered to have an induction failure (IF); this subset of patients has an extremely poor outcome with further conventional therapy. Since 1985, we have entered 30 IF patients into protocols using conditioning with high-dose cyclophosphamide, carmustine (BCNU), and etoposide (VP16-213) with or without cisplatin (CBV +/- P) followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) with bone marrow (19 patients), peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs; 8 patients), or both (3 patients). All except 2 patients had previously received chemotherapy regimens for HD that contained at least 7 drugs, and 9 had received prior radiotherapy (RT). After documentation of IF, the majority of patients received some cytoreductive therapy as specified by protocol (local RT in 9, two cycles of conventional chemotherapy in 2, both modalities in 2, or high-dose cyclophosphamide to enhance PBSC collection in 11) before CBV +/- P. Five treatment-related deaths occurred, all before day 150 posttransplant. Eleven patients have had progressive HD at a median of 6 months (range, 0.1 to 45 months) after ASCT. The actuarial progression-free survival (PFS) at a median follow-up of 3.6 years (range, 0.2 to 8.2 years) is 42% (95% confidence intervals, 21% to 61%). The statistical analysis identified only prior clinical bleomycin lung toxicity as an adverse risk factor for PFS, mainly because of the increased nonrelapse mortality seen in these patients. CBV +/- P and ASCT can produce durable remission in a substantial proportion of IF HD patients who otherwise have a poor survival, and we believed ASCT approaches represent the best therapy currently available for these patients. Additional measures are needed to reduce the primary problem of disease progression despite high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.

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