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J Clin Oncol. 1993 May;11(5):931-6.

Autologous bone marrow transplantation in poor-prognosis intermediate-grade and high-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in first remission: a pilot study.

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  • 1Division of Tumor Immunology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.



Using high-dose therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) to overcome cellular resistance and eradicate minimal disease, we initiated a pilot study during first remission in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) to examine whether the long-term disease-free survival (DFS) rate can be improved for patients with poor-prognosis intermediate/high-grade NHL.


Twenty-six patients with advanced-stage diffuse intermediate/high-grade B-cell NHL (including 16 patients with diffuse small cleaved-cell [DSC]) were selected at presentation by histologic and clinical characteristics to have less than a 25% probability of long-term DFS with conventional treatment. After induction chemotherapy, 16 patients were in complete remission (CR) and 10 were in a minimal disease state. Patients were then treated with high-dose cyclophosphamide, total-body irradiation (TBI), and anti-B-cell monoclonal antibody-purged ABMT.


Following ABMT, no acute in-hospital treatment deaths occurred, and engraftment of granulocytes and platelets was significantly faster than for patients undergoing ABMT who were in second or subsequent remission. Of 26 patients, 21 remain in CR maintained without continued therapy, three relapsed in sites of prior nodal disease (4.8, 5.4, and 28 months post-ABMT), and two died in remission. The DFS rate is estimated to be 85% at 28 months and thereafter. The median follow-up period for the 21 patients who are alive and disease-free is 32 months.


This pilot study suggests that consolidation of first remission with ABMT may improve the long-term DFS rate for diffuse intermediate/high-grade NHL patients at high risk for relapse.

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