Similar response rates and superior early progression-free survival with gemcitabine, dexamethasone, and cisplatin salvage therapy compared with carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan salvage therapy prior to autologous stem cell transplantation for recurrent or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma

Cancer. 2006 Jan 15;106(2):353-60. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21587.


Background: The objective of this study was to compare the response rates, ability to mobilize autologous hematopoietic (peripheral blood) stem cells (PBSCs), and progression-free survival (PFS) after second-line chemotherapy with either gemcitabine, dexamethasone, and cisplatin (GDP) or carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan (mini-BEAM) followed by high-dose therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT) for patients with recurrent or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.

Methods: The outcomes of 68 consecutive patients who were referred for salvage therapy (34 patients received mini-BEAM, and 34 patients received GDP) were compared retrospectively. Patients received mini-BEAM as inpatient treatment every 3-4 weeks, whereas GDP was administered on an outpatient basis every 3 weeks. Responding patients proceeded to stem cell mobilization, followed by high dose etoposide and melphalan, and ASCT. Patients who had disease bulk at recurrence that measured > 5 cm received involved-field radiation post-ASCT.

Results: The response rate to GDP prior to ASCT (complete responses, unconfirmed complete responses, and partial responses) was 62% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 45-78%) compared with 68% (95% CI, 52-83%) for mini-BEAM (P = 0.61). After mobilizing chemotherapy, the proportion of patients for whom the target PBSC number of > or = 5 x 10(6) CD34-positive cells/kg was obtained was 97% after GDP and 57% after MB (P = 0.0003). More patients completed collection with a single apheresis procedure after GDP than after mini-BEAM (73% vs. 36%; P = 0.004), and fewer patients in the GDP group required bone marrow harvesting to proceed to ASCT. After a median follow-up of 1.8 years after ASCT, PFS was significantly better for patients who received GDP compared with patients who received mini-BEAM (74% vs. 35% at 1.5 yrs, respectively; P = 0.005). Overall survival at 1.5 years was 91% after GDP and 82% after mini-BEAM (P = 0.23).

Conclusions: Although this was a retrospective analysis, response to GDP and early PFS after ASCT compared favorably with mini-BEAM salvage chemotherapy. Based on these data, the authors believe that a Phase III trial comparing GDP with mini-BEAM or other platinum-containing regimens is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carmustine / therapeutic use
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Cytarabine / therapeutic use
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy*
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melphalan / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytarabine
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Etoposide
  • Dexamethasone
  • gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin
  • Melphalan
  • Carmustine