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Leuk Lymphoma. 2003;44 Suppl 4:S15-27.

Current treatment options in aggressive lymphoma.

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Consultant Haematologist, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ, UK.


The overall percentage of patients achieving long-term remissions in aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) using CHOP or CHOP-based primary chemotherapy is only 40%. Much effort has therefore been concentrated on developing strategies to improve this figure. More intensive variants of CHOP chemotherapy, such as multi-agent "third-generation" regimens, have failed to improve long-term survival, and are also associated with increased toxicity. Hence, there is a need for improved treatment regimens, both as primary therapy and for patients in first and subsequent relapse. This need is most acute in elderly patients (> 60 years of age), who comprise more than 50% of NHL cases and who may not be able to tolerate subsequent intensive chemotherapy at relapse. Approaches currently being examined to improve outcome include: the use of clinical, histological and molecular prognostic factors to establish a patient's risk group, and so define those patients most likely to benefit from early aggressive therapy; the inclusion of high-dose therapy and autologous transplantation; and the integration of novel therapies, such as immunotherapy and radioimmunotherapy, into existing treatment strategies. The impact of these approaches on the treatment of diffuse, large B-cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma is discussed below.

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