Outcome of Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Referred for Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation
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Fifty-one patients with relapsed or refractory intermediate- or high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were referred for autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT). The primary criterion for eligibility was sensitivity to conventional-dose salvage chemotherapy. Of 47 patients who received salvage chemotherapy, 30 demonstrated chemotherapy-sensitive disease. Six eligible patients did not undergo ABMT for various reasons. A total of 24 patients underwent ABMT, with etoposide, melphalan ± total body irradiation as the intensive therapy regimen. There was one early treatment-related death and three non-responders. Of the remaining patients, 9 relapsed, while 11 remain in continuous complete remission (CR) at a median follow-up of 21 months after transplant (range 5-37 months). Two patients with chemosensitive disease and bone marrow involvement underwent allogeneic BMT with marrow from HLA-identical siblings. Both are in continuous CR at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Of the 25 patients who did not undergo ABMT, all have died (median survival 5 months). The results indicate that approximately one-half of relapsed or refractory aggressive histology lymphoma patients referred for ABMT eventually undergo transplantation, if chemotherapy-sensitive relapse is the major criterion for eligibility. Approximately 25% of the referred patients may become long-term disease-free survivors with this approach. Reports of marrow transplant series should include all patients referred for ABMT as the denominator for calculating disease-free survival in order to reduce the bias of patient selection.
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