Randomized study to evaluate the use of high-dose therapy as part of primary treatment for “aggressive” lymphoma.

Kaiser U, Uebelacker I, Abel U, Birkmann J, Trümper L, Schmalenberg H, Karakas T, Metzner B, Hossfeld DK, Bischoff HG, Franke A, Reiser M, Müller P, Mantovani L, Grundeis M, Rothmann F, von Seydewitz CU, Mesters RM, Steinhauer EU, Krahl D, Schumacher K, Kneba M, Baudis M, Schmitz N, Pfab R, Köppler H, Parwaresch R, Pfreundschuh M, Havemann K.

Abstract This trial of the German High-Grade Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Study Group compares the use of high-dose therapy (HDT) as part of primary treatment with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) plus etoposide followed by involved-field (IF) radiotherapy in a randomized, multicenter, phase III study.Three hundred twelve patients with “aggressive” non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma aged <or= 60 years with elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase levels were included from 1990 to 1997. Patients with at least a minor response after two cycles of CHOEP (CHOP + etoposide 3 x 100 mg/m(2)) were to receive three further cycles of CHOEP followed by IF radiotherapy (arm A) or one further cycle of CHOEP followed by autologous stem-cell transplantation and IF radiotherapy (arm B).Among 158 patients randomized to arm B, 103 (65%) received HDT. The complete remission rate at the end of treatment was 62.9% in arm A and 69.9% in arm B. With a median observation time of 45.5 months, overall survival for all 312 patients was 63% after 3 years (63% for arm A, 62% for arm B; P =.68). Event-free survival was 49% for arm A versus 59% for arm B (P =.22). Relapse in arm B was associated with a significantly worse survival rate than relapse in arm A (P <.05). Relapse after HDT occurred early (median interval, 3 months). Six patients developed secondary neoplasia, three in arm A and three in arm B.Results of the randomized trial comparing CHOP-like chemotherapy with early HDT do not support the use of HDT with carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan following shortened standard chemotherapy.