To determine whether modifying the standard regimen of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) from full doses given every 3 weeks to one-third doses given weekly (chop) increases the received chemotherapy dose-intensity in elderly patients with advanced-stage intermediate-grade lymphoma.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Consenting patients, age > or = 65 years who had acceptable cardiac, renal, and liver function and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status less than 4, were stratified by bone marrow and performance status and randomized to receive standard CHOP or weekly chop. Drug doses were attenuated or escalated according to a defined dose-modification schedule. The primary outcome was average relative received dose-intensity. Secondary outcomes included response, progression-free and overall survival, toxicity, and performance status.
Nineteen patients were allocated to each group. No difference in received dose-intensity was seen. When dose-intensity was calculated for the first six cycles of therapy, average relative received dose-intensity was .92 with CHOP versus .89 with weekly chop (P = .5); when calculated for the first 18 weeks of therapy, values were .88 with CHOP versus .89 with weekly chop (P = .8). The complete response rate was 68% with CHOP versus 74% with weekly chop (P = .9). At 2 years, the progression-free survival rate was 57% with CHOP versus 46% with weekly chop (P = .16) and the survival rate was 74% with CHOP versus 51% with weekly chop (p = .05). More myelotoxicity was seen with CHOP.
We conclude that CHOP can be given in sufficient doses to elderly patients and that weekly chop does not increase received dose-intensity. Progression-free and overall survival are unlikely to be superior with weekly chop, and may be worse. CHOP should remain the standard against which new therapies for elderly patients with intermediate-grade lymphoma are compared.