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N Engl J Med. 1992 Nov 5;327(19):1336-41.

Interferon alfa combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy for patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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University of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, Madison.



Interferon alfa has been found to be effective as an antitumor agent (with a response rate of 30 percent) in patients with low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but its effectiveness in those with intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has been less adequately tested. In a prospective randomized study we evaluated the effectiveness of adding interferon alfa to cytotoxic chemotherapy in patients with clinically aggressive, low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and certain histologic variants of intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, not including diffuse histiocytic lymphoma.


The patients were randomly assigned to a regimen of cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone, and doxorubicin or to this regimen combined with recombinant interferon alfa. Treatment was administered every four weeks, for 8 to 10 cycles.


The two regimens produced comparable objective responses, but the regimen including interferon had a greater effect in prolonging the time to treatment failure (P < 0.001) and the duration of complete response (P = 0.03). Interferon alfa also had a greater effect on overall survival (P = 0.014) when the results were adjusted for important covariates.


Interferon alfa, when added to a four-drug doxorubicin-based chemotherapy regimen, is an effective antitumor agent in patients with clinically aggressive low-grade or intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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