High-dose, potentially myeloablative chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation for patients with advanced Hodgkin's disease
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Twenty three patients with Hodgkin's disease were treated with BCNU (carmustine), etoposide, and cyclophosphamide at doses of 450-600 mg/m2, 1500-2000 mg/m2, and 120 mg/kg respectively. Bone marrow refrigerated at 4 degrees C for 2-5 days or cryopreserved at -80 degrees C was used to reconstitute bone marrow function. The median age was 28 (range 16-48), and the median Karnofsky performance status was 70. Nineteen patients had progressive disease while on chemotherapy. The median number of prior regimens was three (1-7), and the median number of prior chemotherapy drugs was 10 (range 4-12). Ten patients had received at least two of the drugs used in this study and four had had all three. Indicator lesions included lung (10), peripheral lymph nodes (9), retroperitoneal nodes (8), liver (3), and chest wall masses (2). Ten patients achieved a complete remission (43.5%; 95% confidence limits 23-64%), and five patients had a partial remission (21.7%; 95% confidence limits 5-39%). The median duration of complete remission was 6 months (range 2-13+ months). Responses were shorter in duration for patients with primary refractory disease. Liver function abnormalities were noted in nine (39%) cases. Post transplant, the recovery time was 18 days (range 11-43) for WBC and 24 days (11-77) for platelets. Two patients died of septic episodes while neutropenic. The median number of RBC units used was seven (range 1-45). Ten patients had evidence of pulmonary dysfunction. In seven patients there was symptomatic improvement with steroid therapy, but three patients who were not treated with steroids died as a result of interstitial pneumonia. Future programs should consider bone marrow transplantation in patients with Hodgkin's disease earlier in the course of disease, at the time of minimal residual disease, and employ newer, potentially less toxic drugs.