Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of the hybrid chemotherapeutic regimen COPP/ABV/IMEP (cyclophosphamide-vincristine-procarbazine-prednisone-doxorubicin-bleomycin-vinblastine-ifosfamide-methotrexate-etoposide) (CAI) with that of the standard regimen COPP/ABVD (COPP/ABV, dacarbacine) (CA) in the treatment of advanced-stage Hodgkin's disease (HD).
Patients and methods: Between January 1988 and January 1993, 588 eligible patients with HD in stages IIIB and IV were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment group received four cycles of CAI over a complete cycle duration of 43 days. The control group received four cycles of CA over 57 days. Both groups then received consolidating radiotherapy.
Results: Five hundred and eighty-four patients were suitable for arm comparison. Patients in each group were similar in age, sex, histological subtype and clinical risk factors. Complete remission rates, overall survival and freedom from treatment failure at 7 years were similar for the two groups: 77% versus 78%, 73% versus 73% and 54% versus 56% for CAI and CA, respectively. Differences in acute chemotherapy-related toxicity were significant, however. Prognostic factor analysis confirmed the relevance of the International Prognostic Index and revealed that stage IVB, low hemoglobin, low lymphocyte count, high age and male gender were associated with a poor prognosis
Conclusion: The rapidly alternating hybrid CAI did not give superior results when compared with the standard regimen CA in advanced-stage HD.