Intensified CHOP regimen in aggressive lymphomas: maximal dose intensity and dose density of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide

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Background:Following our previous study of CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone) intensification in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), in the present report we attempted to further increase dose intensity by shortening the between-course intervals with the support of growth factors.Patients and methods:A total of 67 patients were enrolled. With a fixed dose of doxorubicin 75 mg/m2, cyclophosphamide (CTX) was started at a dose of 1750 mg/m2 and increased by 250 mg/m2 in consecutive cohorts of patients provided that no dose-limiting toxicity occurred. After the maximal tolerated dose (MTD) had been identified, this was used to treat more patients in order to confirm the feasibility of the regimen on a large scale, with the number of cycles being varied on the basis of disease extension.Results:Twenty-three cases were enrolled in the CTX dose finding phase. Dose-limiting non-hematological toxicity occurred at 2250 mg/m2. As the intermediate level of 2000 mg/m2 had a borderline toxicity profile, a CTX dose of 1750 mg/m2 was defined as the MTD. A total of 53 patients then received the MTD during the course of the study as a whole. At the MTD, toxicity was acceptable. Only 10 of 189 cycles (4%) required hospitalization due to infection or febrile neutropenia. Seventy-four percent of the patients achieved complete remission. Freedom from progression and overall survival at 12 months were 71% and 86% in the whole series, and 58% and 71% for high-risk cases, respectively.Conclusions:This intensified CHOP regimen is feasible on an outpatient basis. It can be safely considered a definitive treatment in patients at low and intermediate risk, and as induction before high-dose consolidation in high-risk cases.

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