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Br J Haematol. 2005 Aug;130(3):363-72.

Conventional second-line salvage chemotherapy regimens are not warranted in patients with malignant lymphomas who have progressive disease after first-line salvage therapy regimens.

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Department of Haematology, University College London Hospitals, London, UK.


This study aimed to determine the outcome of patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoma who have an inadequate response to first-line salvage therapy (1 degrees ST) and who subsequently receive a second-line salvage regimen (2 degrees ST) with the intention of ultimately proceeding to high-dose therapy. The outcome of 57 patients [Hodgkin's Lymphoma 17, histologically-aggressive non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) 26, histologically-indolent NHL 14] who received more than one modality of conventional-dose salvage therapy was analysed. Sixteen patients had a partial response (PR) to 1 degrees ST, but subsequently received 2 degrees ST because the PR was judged to be inadequate (iPR) because of persisting disease bulk or marrow infiltration. Of these 16 patients, 10 (63%) continued to respond to 2 degrees ST. Of the 15 patients who had stable disease following 1 degrees ST, 5 (33%) responded to 2 degrees ST. Only one of the 24 (4%) with progressive disease (PD) following 1 degrees ST, responded to 2 degrees ST. 25 of the 57 patients ultimately underwent stem cell transplantation. The 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) and the 3-year overall survival (OS) for all patients was 24% and 31%, respectively. Long-term survival was highly dependent on response to 1 degrees ST (P = 0.0001); in patients with PD following 1 degrees ST, the PFS and OS at 3 years was only 4%. This analysis indicates that patients with malignant lymphomas, who have PD on 1 degrees ST, are not rescued by subsequent salvage regimens. They should either be treated palliatively or novel approaches should be explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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