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J Clin Oncol. 1996 Apr;14(4):1262-8.

Fludarabine, mitoxantrone, and dexamethasone: an effective new regimen for indolent lymphoma.

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Department of Hematology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.



Although most patients with indolent lymphomas respond to initial therapy, virtually all experience relapse. Secondary therapy is often beneficial, but responses are rarely, if ever, durable. We conducted this phase II trail to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and toxicity of fludarabine, mitoxantrone, and dexamethasone (FND) in patients with relapsed indolent lymphoma.


Fifty-one patients with recurrent or refractory indolent lymphoma were treated with a regimen of fludarabine 25 mg/m2/d intravenously (IV) on days 1 to 3, mitoxantrone 10 mg/m2 IV on day 1, and dexamethasone 20 mg/d IV or orally on days 1 to 5. Treatment was repeated at 4-week intervals for a maximum of eight courses. Late in the course of this trial, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) was incorporated for Pneumocystis carinii (PCP) prophylaxis.


Responses were complete (CR) in 24 patients (47%) and partial (PR) in 24 (47%). The median failure-free survival time was 21 months for CR patients and 9 months for PR patients. Notable activity of FND was seen even in the elderly, in those with high serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) or beta2-microglobulin levels, and in those with multiple prior treatment regimens. The predominant toxic effects were myelosuppression and infections; other toxic effects were modest. Infections occurred in 12% of courses. Almost half of the infections were proven or suspected opportunistic infections, including six cases of dermatomal herpes zoster and two cases of proven PCP pneumonia.


The FND combination is highly active in patients with recurrent or relapsed indolent lymphoma and results in a high percentage of CRs. Because of the risk of opportunistic infections, we currently recommend prophylaxis with TMP-SMX and advise deletion of corticosteroids for patients who develop opportunistic infections.

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