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Cancer. 1990 Aug 15;66(4):632-9.

Treatment of low-grade and intermediate-grade lymphoma with intensive combination chemotherapy results in long-term, disease-free survival.

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Division of Clinical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


To define the role of intensive combination chemotherapy in the treatment of low-grade or intermediate-grade lymphomas, the authors report results in 49 patients treated with intermediate-dose or high-dose methotrexate, bleomycin, Adriamycin (doxorubicin; Adria Laboratories, Columbus, OH), cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), vincristine, and dexamethasone (m/M-BACOD) with long-term follow-up. The complete response rate was 59% (29 of 49), including 67% (eight of 12) with low-grade and 57% (21 of 37) with intermediate-grade disease. The median survival for the entire group was 81 months. The 29 complete responders had a long median survival of 131 months. Forty-five percent (13 of 29) of the complete responders, 27% of the entire group, continue in remission with a median disease-free survival of 76 months. This includes five of 19 patients with diffuse poorly differentiated lymphoma, a disease generally characterized by early relapse. Twelve patients achieved a partial response and had a shorter median survival of 53 months, whereas nonresponders survived a median of less than 5 months. Late relapse was noted in patients with low-grade and intermediate-grade disease. Age (younger than or older than 60 years) was the only predictor of long-term survival. These data indicate very long disease-free survival can be achieved in low-grade and intermediate-grade lymphomas after attaining a complete remission. Intensive doxorubicin containing chemotherapy can be considered as an option for patients with advanced low-grade lymphoma but can only be proven to be superior to single-agent chemotherapy or no initial therapy by controlled randomized trails.

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