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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Jun 1;21(11):2115-22.

Long-term follow-up of a prospective study of combined modality therapy for stage I-II indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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Department of Haematology, The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Standard therapy for patients with stage I-II indolent lymphoma has been involved-field radiation therapy (IF-XRT), which achieves 10-year disease-free survival in 40% to 50% of patients, with many of these patients cured. We investigated the potential for combined-modality therapy to increase the disease-free survival for such patients.


A total of 102 eligible patients with stage I-II low grade lymphoma (International Working Formulation criteria) were enrolled from 1984 to 1992. Treatment comprised 10 cycles of risk-adapted chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone, bleomycin [COP-Bleo], and with doxorubicin added for some [CHOP-Bleo]) and 30 to 40 Gy IF-XRT.


The patients' median age was 56 years (range, 28 to 77), with follicular histology in 83%, bulky disease (>/= 5 cm) in 24%, and stage II in 52%. There were no treatment-related deaths and 99% of patients attained complete remission. With a median follow-up of 10 years, the 10-year time to treatment failure and overall survival were 76% and 82%, respectively. For patients with follicular lymphoma, these figures were 72% and 80%, respectively. The only factor associated with treatment failure, for follicular lymphoma patients, was stage-modified International Prognostic Factors Index score (P =.02). None of 17 patients with diffuse small lymphocytic or mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue histology have relapsed. Elevated serum beta2-microglobulin was associated with shorter survival (P <.0001). The 10-year survival after relapse was 46%. There have been two cases of myelodysplasia and 12 other new malignancies, including four arising within radiation fields.


With prolonged follow-up, combined-modality therapy with risk-adapted COP-/CHOP-Bleo and IF radiation has attained higher rates of disease control and survival than previously reported with IF-XRT alone. This apparent improvement is being further explored in an ongoing randomized trial.

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