Medline: 1732422

Journal of Clinical Oncology 10(2): 210-218, 1992.

Conventional-dose salvage combination chemotherapy in patients relapsing with Hodgkin's disease after combination chemotherapy: the low probability for cure.

Longo DL, Duffey PL, Young RC, et al.


The study was undertaken to evaluate clinical prognostic factors, probability of response to therapy, duration of response, and overall survival of patients with Hodgkin's disease relapsing from a chemotherapy-induced complete remission.

Patients and Methods:
Study population comprised 107 patients with Hodgkin's disease treated with combination chemotherapy at the National Cancer Institute who relapsed after achieving a complete remission.

Half of the relapses occurred within the first year of achieving complete remission; among patients in remission 5 years or longer, only 4% relapsed. The overall survival of the relapsed patients is projected to be 17% at 20 years, calculated from the date of relapse. Primary treatment regimen, presence of B symptoms, stage, sex, liver involvement, pleural involvement, marrow involvement, and histologic subtype did not affect the survival of relapsed patients. Only age at diagnosis (older or younger than 30 years) and length of initial remission (shorter or longer than 1 year) made a significant impact on survival. Patients whose initial remission was longer than 1 year had significantly higher complete response rates to salvage therapy, significantly more durable second remissions, and significantly longer survival than patients whose initial remission was shorter than 1 year. Survival beyond 11 years from relapse of patients with long initial remissions was 24%; for those with short initial remissions, 11% (P2 = .027). Despite the fact that with salvage therapy, patients with long initial remission had an 85% complete response rate to mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP) with a disease-free survival of 45% at 20 years, acute leukemia and other treatment-related complications combined to lower the survival rate of this more favorable subset.

These data with conventional-dose salvage therapy provide results for comparison with novel salvage approaches including myeloablative therapy with autologous marrow or peripheral-blood stem-cell support.

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Dr. G. Quade