Tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma: Results of SMC NB-2004 study

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From January 2004 to December 2008, 50 consecutive patients with high-risk neuroblastoma were assigned to receive tandem HDCT (high-dose chemotherapy)/auto-SCT after nine cycles of induction chemotherapy. CEC (carboplatin+etoposide+ cyclophosphamide) regimen and TM (thiotepa+melphalan)-TBI regimen (or TM regimen for stage 3 patients) were the first and second HDCT regimens. Local radiotherapy, differentiation therapy with 13-cis-retinoid acid and immunotherapy with interleukin-2 were given after tandem HDCT/auto-SCT. Of the 50 patients, 49 underwent a first HDCT/auto-SCT and 47 underwent a second HDCT/auto-SCT. The tumor relapsed or progressed in 14 patients, secondary malignancy developed in one patient and one patient died from chronic lung disease. Therefore, 34 patients remained event free with a median follow-up of 54.5 months (range, 14-94 months) from diagnosis. The probabilities of 5-year OS and EFS for all 50 patients were 77.0% (95% confidence interval (CI), 63.7-90.3) and 71.4% (95% CI, 58.7-84.1), respectively. However, all patients who remained event free for >3 years after tandem HDCT/auto-SCT experienced late adverse effects. Chemotherapeutic dose-escalation strategy using tandem HDCT/auto-SCT was very encouraging for survival. However, further studies incorporating newer treatment modalities are needed to reduce late adverse effects without jeopardizing the survival rate.

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