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Eur J Cancer. 2005 Aug;41(12):1724-30.

Effective palliation by low dose local radiotherapy for recurrent and/or chemotherapy refractory non-follicular lymphoma patients.

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Department of Radiotherapy, The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In this work, we have studied the response rates and duration of response after low-dose (4 Gy) involved field radiotherapy (LD-IF-RT) in relapsed or chemotherapy refractory indolent and aggressive lymphoma patients. 71 patients (177 symptomatic sites) received LD-IF-RT consisting of 39 males and 32 females with a median age of 69 years (range 43-93). Patients included were those with small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (n=23), marginal zone lymphoma, nodal type (n=18), mantle cell lymphoma (n=17), and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (n=13). Bulky disease (5 cm) was present in 73% of all patients. A median of two prior chemotherapy regimens (range 0-10) preceded LD-IF-RT. Median time since diagnosis was 31 months (range 1-216 months). Time to (local) progression was calculated according to the Kaplan-Meier method. Differences in response rates were compared using the chi2-test. The results showed that overall response rate was 87%; complete remission (CR) was reached in 34 patients (48%) and a partial remission (PR) in 28 patients (39%). Stable disease (SD) was maintained in nine patients (13%). The median time to progression (TP) was 12 months and the median time to local progression (TLP) was 22 months. The 34 CR patients showed a median TP of 16 months and a median TLP of 23 months. None of the factors studied (age, sex, lymphoma subtype, radiotherapy regimen, number of prior regimens or time since diagnosis, number of positive sites or largest lymphoma diameter) were found to relate to response. At time of death 70% of patients were without in-field progression after LD-IF-RT. It appears that LD-IF-RT is a valuable asset in the management of relapsed disease in both indolent and aggressive lymphoma and should be considered to palliate symptoms in patients with recurrent and/or chemotherapy refractory disease.

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