Background: Gemcitabine has been shown to have activity as a single agent in lymphoma and, when combined with cisplatin, is effective therapy for a number of solid tumors. The authors wished to determine the response rate and toxicity of gemcitabine, dexamethasone, and cisplatin for recurrent or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Methods: Patients with recurrent or refractory diffuse large B-cell NHL or variants (REAL classification), measurable disease, and one previous chemotherapy regimen were eligible. Treatment consisted of gemcitabine 1000 mg/m(2) intravenously (i.v.) on Days 1 and 8, dexamethasone 40 mg orally on Days 1-4, and cisplatin 75 mg/m(2) i.v. on Day 1 (GDP), every 21 days as an outpatient. The primary end point was a response after two cycles. Patients could then proceed to stem cell transplantation (SCT) or receive up to six treatment cycles.
Results: Fifty-one eligible patients were evaluable for toxicity and response. The median age of the patients was 57 years (range, 18-84 years) and most had diffuse large-cell lymphoma. After 2 cycles, there were 8 complete responses (CR; 16%) and 17 partial responses (PR; 33%). There was an overall response rate (RR) of 49% (95% confidence interval = 37-63%). The RR afer completion of all protocol chemotherapy (including those who received > 2 cycles of GDP) was 53% (11 CR, 16 PR). Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia occurred in 33% and 39% of patients, respectively. Grade 3 and 4 thrombocytopenia occurred in 24% and 4% of patients, respectively. Seven patients (14%) experienced febrile neutropenia. Of the 35 patients < 66 years, 22 (63%) proceeded to SCT.
Conclusions: GDP is an active regimen in B-cell NHL and can be administered with acceptable toxicity to outpatients. A Phase III trial comparing GDP with standard cisplatin-based chemotherapy is now ongoing through the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group.