Intensive chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, carmustine, and etoposide followed by autologous bone marrow transplantation for relapsed Hodgkin's disease

J Clin Oncol. 1991 Oct;9(10):1871-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1991.9.10.1871.


Fifty-six consecutive patients with advanced Hodgkin's disease considered incurable with further conventional chemotherapy were entered into a protocol that included high-dose cyclophosphamide (7.2 g/m2), carmustine (BCNU; 0.6 g/m2), and etoposide (VP16-213; 2.4 g/m2) (CBV) followed by autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Prior combination chemotherapy had failed in all the patients, and all but five had been previously treated with both mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP) and doxorubicin, bleomycin, and vinblastine with or without dacarbazine (ABV[D]). Thirty-four eligible patients received short-course conventional chemotherapy and/or involved-field radiotherapy before CBV. However, formal restaging was not performed after these conventional therapies; ie, the therapies were not used to select responding patients for transplantation, and all who received such therapy subsequently received CBV and autologous marrow grafts. Forty-four patients (80%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 69% to 91%) achieved a complete response after CBV and BMT. Performance status at protocol entry and the use of conventional cytoreduction therapy before CBV correlated with response. Median follow-up is now 3.5 years (range, 2.5 to 5.0 years). Kaplan-Meier estimates for overall and event-free survival 5 years after transplant are 53% (95% CI, 37% to 67%) and 47% (95% CI, 33% to 60%), respectively. In a univariate analysis, patients with a normal performance status and those without constitutional ("B") symptoms at protocol entry had an improved overall and event-free survival. In a multivariate analysis, only a normal performance status remained significant. Disease progression occurred in 17 patients at an actuarial rate of 39% (95% CI; 26% to 56%) and occurred at previous sites of active disease in all but one patient; our analysis did not identify prognostic factors for progression. Toxic deaths, caused by either neutropenic sepsis or interstitial pneumonitis (IP), occurred in 12 patients (21%; 95% CI, 10% to 32%). CBV with autologous marrow support can produce durable remissions in a substantial number of patients with Hodgkin's disease considered incurable with conventional measures. Regimen refinements may even further improve the therapeutic index of BMT in this malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Carmustine / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Etoposide
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Carmustine

Supplementary concepts

  • CBV protocol