Purpose: To update the randomized study that compared consolidative sequential treatment (ifosfamide, etoposide, asporaginase, and cytarabine) versus the high-dose regimen of cyclophosphamide, carmustine, and etoposide (CBV) followed by autotransplantation in patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in first complete remission and to focus on high-intermediate and high-risk patients identified by the international prognostic index.
Patients and methods: Nine hundred sixteen patients received induction treatment on the LNH84 protocol with open randomization for the anthracycline. In a subsequent randomization, 541 patients in complete remission were assigned to receive consolidation by either sequential chemotherapy (n = 273) or autotransplant (n = 268). Among the higher risk population (two or three risk factors), 236 patients in complete remission were assessable for the consolidation phase, with 111 in the sequential chemotherapy arm and 125 in the autotransplant arm.
Results: Among 541 randomized patients, disease-free survival and survival did not differ significantly between the two consolidative treatment arms. In the higher risk population, CBV was superior to sequential chemotherapy, with 5-year disease-free survival rates of 59% (95% confidence interval, 49% to 69%) and 39% (95% confidence interval, 28% to 50%), respectively (P = .01, relative risk = 1.19). The 5-year survival rate was superior in the CBV group at 65% (95% confidence interval, 56% to 74%) compared with 52% in the sequential chemotherapy group (95% confidence interval, 42% to 62%) (P = .06, relative risk = 1.49).
Conclusion: This study shows a superior disease-free survival for higher risk patients in complete remission. Dose-intensive consolidation therapy should be considered for patients at higher risk who achieve complete remission after induction treatment.