Oncology (Huntington NY)
Most patients with advanced-stage follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) are not cured with conventional therapy. The use of high-dose therapy and autologous stem-cell transplantation in patients with relapsed follicular NHL has received increasing attention. Several large studies suggest a disease-free survival rate of approximately 40% among patients transplanted during sensitive relapse, although the role of autologous transplantation in first remission remains controversial. Patients with histologic transformation from low-grade to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma whose disease remains sensitive to conventional therapy have a similar disease-free survival rate. Allogeneic transplantation has achieved relapse, overall survival, and treatment-related death rates of approximately 15%, 50%, and 40%, respectively, in patients with follicular NHL. Studies of minimal residual disease suggest that the presence of lymphoma cells in the autologous graft and within the patient before clinically apparent relapse is predictive of later recurrence. Therefore, treatment of minimal residual disease may improve the outcome of high-dose therapy. Use of a tumor-free stem-cell product through improved purging or allogeneic stem cells is one approach, although the morbidity and mortality of allogeneic transplantation remain high. Immunomodulatory strategies with monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, or adoptive immunotherapy may be particularly well suited to patients at high risk for relapse following high-dose therapy.
Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms- Universität Bonn