Medline: 7812205

Leukemia and Lymphoma 14(5-6): 457-464, 1994.

Long term results of interferon treatment in hairy cell leukemia.

Capnist G, Federico M, Chisesi T, et al.


Eighty nine of 104 patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL), enrolled between 1985 and 1987 in a multicenter prospective study on human lymphoblastoid IFN alpha-n1, were evaluable for long-term follow-up. The induction treatment, 3 MU/mq daily for a median of 5.7 months, produced a response of 93%, complete+partial response (CR+PR) = 80%, minor (MR) = 13%. Neither prior splenectomy nor pre-treatment variables were associated with the rate of response to IFN. However maintenance treatment of 3 MU/mq weekly given randomly had a slightly significant effect on failure free survival (FFS). Of the 43 patients who relapsed, 31/36 (86%) obtained a new response with IFN. No differences in FFS were recorded between first and second response. At the third induction 7/11 patients were treated again with IFN, 4/7 obtaining some response, but the FFS was significantly worse. The overall survival is still 85%. We conclude that (1) IFN should be used as chronic uninterrupted treatment for HCL, (2) reduced dosage is sufficient to prolong the disease free status and (3) continuous lymphoblastoid IFN administration seems not to be associated with the development of resistance to retreatment.

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