Purpose: To analyse outcome and prognostic factors for overall survival (OS) and time to treatment failure (TTF) in 357 patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) undergoing an autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) after a first relapse and reported to the The Grupo Espanol de Linfomas/Trasplante Autologo de Medula Osea (GEL/TAMO) Cooperative Group.
Methods: Two hundred and twenty males and 137 females with a median age of 29 years were autografted in second remission (n=181), first sensitive relapse (n=148) and first resistant relapse (n=28).
Results: Five-year actuarial TTF and OS were of 49% +/- 3% and 57% +/- 3%. Advanced stage at diagnosis, complementary radiotherapy before ASCT, a short first complete response (CR) and detectable disease at ASCT adversely influenced TTF. Year of transplant < or =1995, bulky disease at diagnosis, a short first CR, detectable disease at ASCT and > or =1 extranodal areas involved at ASCT were adverse factors for OS.
Conclusions: ASCT constitutes a therapeutic option for HL patients after a first relapse. Promising results are observed in patients with low tumour burden at diagnosis, autografted after a long CR and without detectable disease at ASCT. Innovative approaches should be pursued for patients with risk factors at relapse.