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Cancer Health Center

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Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Advanced Unfavorable Hodgkin Lymphoma


In the GHSG HD15 trial, six cycles of escalated BEACOPP showed less toxicity and equivalent efficacy when compared with eight cycles of escalated BEACOPP or BEACOP delivered every 2 weeks.[6][Level of evidence: 1iiD]

A prospective, randomized trial of 307 patients with advanced-stage disease, including IIB disease and advanced-favorable HL patients, compared ABVD, BEACOPP (four escalated courses plus two standard courses), and CEC.[7] With a median follow-up of 41 months, although progression-free survival (PFS) favored BEACOPP over ABVD (78% vs. 68%, P = .038), there was no significant difference in OS.[7][Level of evidence: 1iiDiii]

A prospective, randomized study of 331 patients compared ABVD with escalated BEACOPP, along with a planned autologous stem cell transplantation after reinduction chemotherapy for relapsed or resistant disease. With 61 months' median follow-up, although 7-year freedom from first progression favored escalated BEACOPP (73% vs. 85%, P = .004), 7-year OS was not statistically different (84% vs. 89%, P = .39).[8][Level of evidence: 1iiA] Escalated BEACOPP is associated with increased rates of myelodysplasia and acute myelogenous leukemia (3%-4%).[9]

A Cochrane meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials comparing escalated BEACOPP and ABVD for early unfavorable HL or advanced-stage disease could identify no difference in OS.[10][Level of evidence: 1iiA]

Further follow-up is required to assess rates of secondary malignancies with these regimens. Stanford V is an alternative drug combination with mandated radiation therapy consolidation for most patients and survival rates comparable to those with ABVD.[11,12][Level of evidence: 1iiA]

Three prospective, randomized trials did not show a benefit in OS from the addition of consolidative radiation therapy to chemotherapy for patients with advanced-stage disease.[13,14,15][Level of evidence: 1iiA] In a meta-analysis of 1,740 patients treated on 14 different trials, no improvement was observed in 10-years' OS for patients with advanced-stage HL who received combined modality therapy versus chemotherapy alone.[16][Level of evidence: 3iiiA] The German Hodgkin Lymphoma Study Group HD15 trial showed that a negative positive-emission tomographic (PET) scan after BEACOPP induction therapy was highly predictive for a good outcome even with omission of consolidative radiation therapy (negative predictive value for PET was 94% [95% confidence interval, 91%-97%]).[17] No survival advantage is known for the use of radiation consolidation for patients with massive mediastinal disease and advanced stage disease, though differences exist in sites of first relapse.[18]

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