Purpose: We have used identical treatment protocols for adults and children with small non-cleaved-cell lymphoma (SNCL) for many years and report here the results of two successive treatment regimens in these age groups.
Patients and methods: Seventy-two patients (39 adults and 33 children) were treated with protocol 77-04 between 1977 and 1985. All patients, except those with resected abdominal disease, received 15 cycles of a combination of cyclophosphamide (CTX), doxorubicin (ADR), prednisone (PRED), vincristine (VCR), high-dose methotrexate (MTX), and intrathecal (IT) therapy. Forty-one patients (20 adults and 21 children) were treated with protocol 89-C-41, which has been used since 1989. High-risk patients received four alternating cycles (with a total duration of 12 to 15 weeks) of an intensified version of protocol 77-04 without PRED (CODOX-M), and a new drug combination consisting of ifosfamide, etoposide, high-dose cytarabine (ara-C), and IT MTX (IVAC). Low-risk patients received three cycles of the CODOX-M regimen. High-risk patients were randomized to either receive or not receive granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF).
Results: Event-free survival (EFS) in protocol 77-04 was 56% at 2 years and beyond. EFS in protocol 89-C-41 was 92% at 2 years and beyond. GM-CSF was associated with increased thrombocytopenia.
Conclusion: Adults and children with SNCL have a similar prognosis when treated with the same chemotherapy. EFS in high-risk patients has been markedly improved by including IVAC in protocol 89-C-41, and excellent results can be achieved with only four cycles of therapy. In protocol 89-C-41, GM-CSF was not beneficial.