Cyclic delivery of MOPP and ABVD combinations in stage IV Hodgkin's disease: Rationale, background studies, and recent results

G. Bonadonna, A. Santoro, V. Bonfante, P. Valagussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper summarizes the experience achieved at the Cancer Institute of Milan with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) chemotherapy in various stages of Hodgkin's disease, with special emphasis on the cyclic delivery of mechlorethamine, vincristine, prednisone, and procarbazine (MOPP) and ABVD in the primary treatment of stage IV disease. Six cycles of ABVD yielded a complete remission (CR) rate (71%) similar to that of MOPP (63%). ABVD combined with radiotherapy in 153 patients with stage IIB, IIIA, or IIIB disease was superior to MOPP plus radiotherapy in the CR induction (94% vs 79%, P <0.01), particularly in the presence of nodular sclerosis histology (P <0.03) and B symptoms (P = 0.01), as well as in the relapse-free survival of patients with pathologic stage IIIA disease (ABVD, 100%; MOPP, 68%; P = 0.02). Total survival was similar between the two treatment groups, but, compared to MOPP, ABVD chemotherapy was associated with a lower incidence of delayed toxic effects such as azoospermia, prolonged amenorrhea, and cancerogenesis. ABVD induced CR in 59% of 54 patients resistant to MOPP; 37.5% of the complete responders remain alive and disease-free at 5 years. The cyclic delivery of MOPP and ABVD was significantly superior to that of MOPP alone in terms of CR (92% vs 71%; P = 0.02), freedom from disease progression (70% vs 37%; P <0.0001), and relapse-free survival (77% vs 47%; P <0.01) at 5 years. Toxic effects were similar between the two treatment groups, but there was a higher incidence of vomiting and alopecia following ABVD chemotherapy; in the group given MOPP alone, one patient who had previously failed extensive irradiation developed acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. ABVD is confirmed to be an effective regimen that is non-cross-resistant to MOPP and devoid of late morbidity. Therefore, its administration, when alternated monthly with MOPP, offers the possibility to improve the cure rate of Hodgkin's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-887
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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