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J Clin Oncol. 1998 Feb;16(2):584-8.

Vinblastine for recurrent Hodgkin's disease following autologous bone marrow transplant.

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  • 1Medicine Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Bone marrow transplant (BMT) can cure recurrent Hodgkin's disease, but more than half of patients will progress and require additional treatment. When this occurs, there are no curative options and palliative therapy is usually indicated. In such patients, we have routinely used long-term vinblastine therapy because of its relatively low toxicity and high activity.


We retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients with Hodgkin's disease who relapsed after autologous BMT since 1991. Of 23 patients, 16 received vinblastine; we also include our index case, who began vinblastine following relapse in 1987. Patients received vinblastine 4 to 6 mg/m2 every 1 to 2 weeks, and continued until evidence of disease progression.


The 17 patients in this report had a median age of 31 years, performance status of 2, had received a median of three prior regimens, and 12 (71%) patients were advanced stage. Ten (59%) patients had objective responses, of which two (12%) were complete (CR) and eight (47%) were partial (PR). Two additional patients without measurable disease clinically improved for more than 6 months, and 1 patient had stable disease for more than 18 months. With a median follow-up of 20.4 months, the median event-free (EFS) and overall survival were 8.3 and 38.8 months, respectively. The two complete responders remain in remission at 4.6+ and 9+ years. Vinblastine was well tolerated with 3% of cycles associated with fever and neutropenia, and no cumulative or chronic toxicity.


Vinblastine provides effective palliation with low toxicity in recurrent Hodgkin's disease following transplant. These results suggest that long-term vinblastine therapy may be potentially curative and should be considered as initial therapy for such patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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