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Among the third-generation chemotherapy regimens specifically adapted in the last decade for elderly aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) patients, we designed an 8-week cyclophosphamide, mitoxantrone, vincristine, etoposide, bleomycin and prednisone (VNCOP-B) plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) regimen which, in a national multicenter trial, induced good complete response (CR) and relapse-free survival rates with only moderate toxic effects. Here we report a prospective, multicenter, randomized trial comparing the efficacy and toxicity of 8- and 12-week regimens of VNCOP-B plus G-CSF.From February 1996 to June 2001, 306 consecutive previously untreated stage II-IV aggressive NHL patients ≥60 years of age were enrolled from 12 Italian cooperative institutions. Of the 297 evaluable patients, 149 and 148 received 8- and 12-week regimens, respectively, of VNCOP-B.The CR rates were 63% and 56% in the 8- and 12-week groups; at a median of 32 months (range 3-62 months), relapse-free survival rates were 59% and 55%, respectively. Hematological and non-hematological toxicities were similar in both treatment groups.Our data show that extending induction treatment with the VNCOP-B plus G-CSF regimen from 8 to 12 weeks does not raise the CR rate or provide a more durable remission.