Brief-duration high-intensity chemotherapy for patients with small noncleaved-cell lymphoma or FAB L3 acute lymphocytic leukemia: results of cancer and leukemia group B study 9251

J Clin Oncol. 2001 Oct 15;19(20):4014-22. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2001.19.20.4014.


Purpose: To define the activity and feasibility of brief-duration high-intensity chemotherapy for adults with small noncleaved, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SNC) and the L3 variant of acute lymphocytic leukemia (L3 ALL).

Patients and methods: Seventy-five adults with either SNC or L3 ALL (median age, 44 years) were treated with an aggressive regimen that consisted of one cycle of cyclophosphamide and prednisone followed by cycles containing either ifosfamide or cyclophosphamide; high-dose methotrexate, vincristine, dexamethasone, and either doxorubicin or etoposide/cytarabine; or intrathecal triple therapy with prophylactic CNS irradiation.

Results: All 24 patients with L3 ALL and the 30 of 51 patients with SNC confirmed by central histologic review were included in this analysis. Forty-three of 54 patients achieved complete response (CR) (18 of 24 with ALL and 25 of 30 with SNC), and 28 are alive and in continuous CR with a median follow-up of 5.1 years. Hematologic toxicity was profound, and nonhematologic toxicity was notable, with 10 of 75 patients treated developing significant neurologic toxicity consisting of transverse myelitis in five patients, CNS toxicity in three, and severe peripheral neuropathy in two. All patients who did not achieve CR died of the disease, and all recurrences occurred within 16 months of the end of treatment. Responses and toxicities were similar in the patients with both lymphoma and leukemia.

Conclusion: Aggressively delivered chemotherapy is potentially curative in as many as half of patients with SNC and the L3 ALL variant. This treatment regimen had considerable neurologic toxicity and has been modified.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cytarabine / administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / therapeutic use
  • Infections / chemically induced
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / radiotherapy
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Cytarabine
  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Ifosfamide
  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate