Feasibility of upfront dose-intensive chemotherapy in children with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma: preliminary results from the Children's Cancer Group Study CCG-59704

Ann Oncol. 2002:13 Suppl 1:107-11. doi: 10.1093/annonc/13.s1.107.


Background: Treatment strategies involving dose intensification have recently demonstrated improvements in cure compared with older trials. However, dose-intensive therapy is associated with increased acute and long-term toxicities, particularly in pediatric patients. The Children's Cancer Group initiated this pilot study to assess the feasibility and toxicity of a moderate dose-intensive regimen, BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisone), in children and adolescents with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL).

Patients and methods: Children with stage IIB or IIIB with bulk disease, or stage IV were eligible. Induction consisted of four cycles of escalated dose BEACOPP. The rapidity of response, defined as >70% reduction in disease burden, was assessed after two and four cycles. Rapid responders then received consolidation therapy as per gender-specific guidelines to reduce the risk of gender-specific long-term toxicities of therapy, i.e. females received four cycles of COPP/ABV (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisone, doxorubicin, bleomycin and vinblastine) without radiation therapy and males received two cycles of ABVD (doxurubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine) with involved field radiation therapy (IFRT). Slow responders received four cycles of BEACOPP and IFRT.

Results: Ninety-nine patients were enrolled. Myelosuppression was frequent. Non-hematological grade 4 toxicities included allergic reaction (two patients), hypotension (one), mucositis (four), infection (three), seizure (one) and elevated transaminases (one). Typhlitis developed in four patients; three recovered and completed dose-modified chemotherapy, while one died of sepsis associated with grade 4 neutropenia. A rapid response was achieved by 45 and 72% of patients after two and four cycles, respectively. There are no disease progressions or secondary malignancies to date. There is only one reported relapse to date. Median follow-up for the cohort is 6 months.

Conclusions: BEACOPP chemotherapy is feasible and generally well tolerated in children with advanced-stage HL. The absence of reported progressive disease and only one relapse to date is encouraging.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use*
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use*
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Procarbazine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use*
  • Vincristine / therapeutic use*


  • Bleomycin
  • Procarbazine
  • Vincristine
  • Vinblastine
  • Etoposide
  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone

Supplementary concepts

  • ABVD protocol
  • BEACOPP protocol
  • COPP protocol
  • VBA protocol