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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2001 Mar;27(6):593-9.

Efficacy of high-dose therapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in adults 60 years of age and older.

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Clinical Research Division Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.


High-dose therapy (HDT) with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is the optimal treatment for patients with relapsed aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). HDT, however, is often reserved for relatively younger patients due to limited data in older adults. We treated 53 patients aged 60 years and older (median age 62 years, range 60.3-67.7 years) with HDT and ASCT for NHL at our centers. Forty-four patients (83%) had aggressive histology, 75% had chemosensitive disease and all had failed anthracycline therapy. Conditioning regimens included busulfan, melphalan, and thiotepa (45%); cyclophosphamide (CY), etoposide (VP-16), and total body irradiation (TBI) (30%); CY and TBI (15%); and other regimens (10%). Estimated 4-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival, and treatment-related mortality (TRM) were 33%, 24% and 22%, respectively. A multivariable analysis demonstrated that patients with chemosensitive disease (P = 0.03) and < or =3 prior regimens (P = 0.03) had superior survival. Four-year OS in patients with chemosensitive disease was 39% vs 15% in patients with chemoresistant disease. Reduced TRM was associated with the CY, VP-16 and TBI regimen (P = 0.02). HDT therapy with ASCT may result in prolonged survival and potential cure for about a quarter of elderly patients, and for almost 40% with chemosensitive disease. Optimal conditioning regimen selection may further improve outcome by reducing TRM. Age alone should not be used to exclude patients from receiving myeloablative therapy with ASCT.

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