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Ann Oncol. 1998 Aug;9(8):865-9.

High-dose therapy with autologous haematopoietic support in patients with transformed follicular lymphoma: a study of 27 patients from a single centre.

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ICRF Medical Oncology Unit, Department of Medical Oncology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.



The prognosis of patients with transformed follicular lymphoma (FL-t) is poor. The use of high-dose therapy (HDT) with autologous haematopoietic support was therefore evaluated as consolidation of remission.


Twenty-seven patients received high-dose cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation (cyclo + TBI) with autologous bone marrow (BM; n = 24) or peripheral blood progenitor cell support (PBPC; n = 3). BM was treated in vitro with anti-B cell antibodies and complement. Nineteen of 27 patients were treated in first stable remission following transformation. Eight other patients with a history of transformation were treated following a subsequent recurrence of follicular lymphoma (FL).


With a median follow-up of 2.4 years, 14 of 27 patients remain alive and in remission; five are alive and free of disease at more than four years. The median survival is 8.5 years. There were two 'early' treatment-related deaths of respiratory failure, and two 'late' deaths of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in remission of lymphoma at 2.8 and 8.5 years. Seven of nine patients having had a recurrence underwent re-biopsy. In two, histology revealed FL, in five, transformed follicular lymphoma. One of the patients with recurrent FL is alive without further therapy, and two of five patients with recurrent FL-t are alive and in remission after further chemotherapy.


It is appropriate to consider HDT for younger patients with FL-t in remission. Repeat biopsy should be considered for patients with recurrent disease. There is a risk of late MDS in patients undergoing this treatment.

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