One hundred nineteen patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin's disease (HD) received high-dose therapy followed by autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation. Three preparatory regimens, selected on the basis of prior therapy and pulmonary status, were employed. Twenty-six patients without a history of prior chest or pelvic irradiation were treated with fractionated total body irradiation, etoposide (VP) 60 mg/kg and cyclophosphamide (Cy) 100 mg/kg. Seventy-four patients received BCNU 15 mg/kg with identical doses of VP and Cy. A group of 19 patients with a limited diffusing capacity or history of pneumonitis received a novel high-dose regimen consisting of CCNU 15 mg/kg, VP 60 mg/kg and Cy 100 mg/kg. Twenty-nine patients (24%) had failed induction therapy and 35 (29%) had progressive HD within 1 year of initial chemotherapy. At 4 years actuarial survival was 52%, event-free survival was 48% and freedom from progression (FFP) was 62%. No significant differences were seen in survival data with the three preparatory regimens. Six patients died within 100 days of transplantation and 5 died at a later date of transplant-related complications. Secondary malignancies have developed in 6 patients, including myelodysplasia/leukemia in four patients and solid tumors in two patients. Regression analysis identified systemic symptoms at relapse, disseminated pulmonary or bone marrow disease at relapse and more than minimal disease at the time of transplantation as significant prognostic factors for overall and event-free survival and FFP. Patients with none of these factors enjoyed an 85% FFP at 4 years compared with 41% for patients with one or more unfavorable prognostic factors (P = .0001). Our results confirm the efficacy of high-dose therapy and autografting in recurrent or refractory HD. Although longer follow-up is necessary to address ultimate cure rates and toxicity, our data indicate that a desire to reduce late effects should drive future research efforts in favorable patients whereas new initiatives are needed for those with less favorable prognoses.
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