High-dose chemotherapy (HDT) with autologous stem cell transplantation is the standard of care for relapsed/refractory (RR) Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). Given that HDT may cure a sizeable proportion of patients refractory to first salvage, development of newer conditioning regimens remains a priority. We present the results of a novel HDT regimen in which carmustine was substituted by a third-generation chloroethylnitrosourea, fotemustine, with improved pharmacokinetics and safety (FEAM; fotemustine, etoposide, cytarabine, melphalan) in 122 patients with RR-HL accrued into a prospective registry-based study. Application of FEAM resulted in a 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) of 73·8% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0·64-0·81] with median PFS, overall survival and time to progression yet to be reached. The 2-year risk of progression adjusted for the competitive risk of death was 19·4% (95% CI, 0·12-0·27) for the entire patient population. Most previously established independent risk factors, except for fluorodeoxyglucose (18FFDG)-uptake, were unable to predict for disease progression and survival after FEAM. Although 32% of patients had 18FFDG-positrin emission tomography-positive lesions before HDT, the 2-year risk of progression adjusted for competitive risk of death was 19·4% (95% CI; 0·12-0·27). No unusual acute toxicities or early/late pulmonary adverse events were registered. FEAM emerges as an ideal HDT regimen for RR-HL patients typically pre-exposed to lung-damaging treatments.
- Autologous stem cell transplantation
- High-dose chemotherapy
- Hodgkin lymphoma
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