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J Clin Oncol. 1997 May;15(5):1722-9.

Intensive sequential chemotherapy with repeated blood stem-cell support for untreated poor-prognosis non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Institut Paoli Calmettes, Regional Cancer Center-Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.



To demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of six ambulatory high-dose sequential chemotherapy courses that include three intensified cycles supported by stem-cell infusion in high-risk and high-intermediate-risk untreated non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) patients.


A pilot nonrandomized study included 20 untreated patients aged less than 60 years with aggressive histologically identified NHL and two or three adverse-prognosis criteria (International Index). Patients received an ambulatory regimen with high-dose chemotherapy supported by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and repeated peripheral-blood stem-cell (PBSC) infusion. The median age was 39 years (range, 20 to 59), with 13 men and seven women. Chemotherapy consisted of one cycle every 21 days for a total of six cycles. The first three cycles (A1, A2, and A3) consisted of cyclophosphamide (Cy) 3,000 mg/m2, doxorubicin (Doxo) 75 mg/m2, and vincristine 2 mg (plus corticosteroids). The last three cycles (B4, B5, and B6) consisted of the same drug combination plus etoposide 300 mg/m2 and cisplatin 100 mg/m2. For an expected duration of 18 weeks, the projected dose-intensity was 25 mg/m2/wk for Doxo and 1,000 mg/m2/wk for Cy. G-CSF 300 micrograms was administered from day 6 following each cycle until neutrophil reconstitution. Two aphereses were performed at approximately day 13 after each A cycle, and PBSCs were injected at day 4 of each B cycle. Radiotherapy on tumor masses > or = 5 cm was scheduled after completion of the last cycle.


The median duration of grade 4 neutropenia was 1 day (range, 0 to 7) for each A cycle and 4 days (range, 1 to 10) for each B cycle (P = .02). The median duration of grade 4 thrombopenia was 0 days (range, 0 to 8) for each A cycle and 6 days (range, 1 to 21) for each B cycle (P < .001). Hospitalization for febrile neutropenia was required for 18% and 44% of patients during cycles A and B, respectively (P < .01). Only three patients did not complete the protocol: one due to emergency surgery after cycle B4, one who died after cycle B5 from interstitial pneumonia, and one with delayed hematologic reconstitution after cycle B4. Chemotherapy delivery was optimal (median actual relative dose-intensity, 97%; range, 66 to 100). The median total dose administered over 18 weeks was 18,000 mg Cy (range, 12,000 to 18,000), 450 mg Doxo (range, 300 to 450), 900 mg etoposide (range, 300 to 900), and 300 mg cisplatin (range, 100 to 300). Evaluation of response after six courses showed 13 complete remissions ([CRs] 65%), four partial remissions (PRs), two nonresponses (NRs), and one toxic death. With a median follow-up period of 25 months (range, 16 to 43), 15 patients are alive, with 12 in continuous first CR; five patients relapsed (four of four PRs and one of 13 CRs). Two-year survival and failure-free survival (FFS) rates are 73% and 56%, respectively. The disease-free survival (DFS) rate for the CRs is 86%.


PBSC support contributes to the feasibility of first-line, very-high-dose, ambulatory chemotherapy delivery in poor-risk NHL and is associated with a high rate of remission and FFS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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