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Leuk Lymphoma. 2001 Jan;40(3-4):287-94.

The combination of zidovudine and interferon alpha-2B in the treatment of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.

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Metabolism Branch, National Cancer Institute, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.


Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is frequently a very aggressive malignancy with a poor survival despite aggressive multiagent chemotherapy. The combination of the antiretroviral drug zidovudine (AZT) and interferon alpha (IFNalpha) has been reported to induce remissions in patients with ATL. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical response and toxicity following administration of a combination of IFNalpha-2b and AZT in patients with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I)-associated ATL. Eighteen patients with ATL (chronic. crisis, acute or lymphoma type) were treated with the combination of AZT (50 - 200 mg orally 5 times a day) and IFNalpha-2b (2.5 - 10 million units subcutaneously daily). Three patients had objective responses lasting more than one month. One patient had a clinical complete remission, lasting 21.6 months and two patients had partial remissions lasting 3.7 and 26.5 months. Six patients were not considered evaluable for response due to short and/or interrupted periods of treatment. Seventeen patients have died with a median survival time after initiation of therapy of 6 months. Neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were the dose limiting toxicities. In conclusion, the response rate in this study was lower than noted in the two previous published series. This may be due to the amount and type of prior treatment our patients had received.

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