Background: Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) is a rare and rapidly progressive form of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, high-dose methotrexate (CODOX-M)/ifosfamide, etoposide and high-dose cytarabine (IVAC) is a highly effective alternating non-cross-resistant regimen developed by Magrath et al. (Magrath I., Adde M., Shad A. et al. J Clin Oncol 1996; 14: 925-934) at the US National Cancer Institute. The aim was to confirm these results in a larger, international, multi-centre study using International Prognostic Index-based criteria to assign prognostic groups, whilst slightly simplifying the protocol.
Patients and methods: A phase II study where: (i) low risk (LR) patients were treated with three cycles of modified CODOX-M; and (ii) high risk (HR) patients received treatment with four cycles of alternating modified CODOX-M and IVAC chemotherapy. Target of 60 patients, fit for protocol treatment, from 16 to 60 years of age with locally diagnosed, non-HIV-related, non-organ-transplant-related BL.
Results: Results are given for 52 of 72 registered patients whose pathological eligibility was confirmed by central pathology review: 12 LR plus 40 HR. The majority of patients (n = 41) completed protocol treatment, but toxicity was severe, especially myelosuppression and mucositis. Overall, 2-year event-free survival (EFS) was 64.6% (95% CI 50.4% to 78.9%) and 2-year overall survival (OS) was 72.8% (95% CI 59.4% to 86.3%). For LR, 2-year EFS was 83.3% and OS was 81.5%. For HR, 2-year EFS was 59.5% and OS was 69.9%.
Conclusions: This study confirms high cure rates with this CODOX-M/IVAC approach.