Escalated as Compared with Standard Doses of Doxorubicin in BACOP Therapy for Patients with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND AND METHODS: In 1981 the Clinical Trials Group of the National Cancer Institute of Canada completed a pilot study in patients with advanced-stage non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with aggressive tumor histology. That study demonstrated the potential efficacy of escalating the dose of doxorubicin used in a regimen of bleomycin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone (BACOP). In the present study, we compared standard BACOP (s-BACOP) with BACOP that included escalated doses of doxorubicin (esc-BACOP) in 238 patients 16 to 70 years old with previously untreated, advanced-stage intermediate- or high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. During the first 28-day cycle all patients received doxorubicin in a dose of 25 mg per square meter of body-surface area on days 1 and 8. Patients randomly assigned to receive s-BACOP subsequently received five identical cycles, whereas those assigned to receive esc-BACOP received 40 mg of doxorubicin per square meter on days 1 and 8 of five subsequent cycles if granulocytopenia (< 1000 cells per cubic millimeter) had not developed during the first cycle. RESULTS: The 119 patients assigned to the esc-BACOP regimen received doxorubicin at a significantly higher mean weekly dose intensity (13.5 vs. 10.4 mg per square meter per week, P < 0.001) and mean total dose (296 vs. 231 mg per square meter, P < 0.001). Because of granulocytopenia during the first cycle of therapy, only 56 of these patients (47 percent) received the escalated doses of doxorubicin. During a median follow-up of 65 months, there were no differences between the s-BACOP and esc-BACOP groups in response rate, overall survival, or survival without disease progression. When the patients who actually received the escalated doses of doxorubicin were compared with the patients in the s-BACOP group in whom neutropenia did not develop during the first treatment cycle, no difference between their outcomes was observed. Toxicity was greater in the esc-BACOP group. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with advanced-stage intermediate- or high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, escalating the dose of doxorubicin in the BACOP regimen increases toxicity but does not improve the rate of response or survival.


  • Meyer, Ralph
  • Quirt, Ian C
  • Skillings, Jamey R
  • Cripps, MC
  • Bramwell, Vivien
  • Weinerman, Brian H
  • Gospodarowicz, Mary K
  • Burns, Bruce F
  • Sargeant, Ann Marie
  • Shepherd, Lois E
  • Zee, Benny
  • Hryniuk, William M

publication date

  • December 9, 1993