P-VEBEC: A new 8-weekly schedule with or without rG-CSF for elderly patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL)

M. Bertini, R. Freilone, U. Vitolo, B. Botto, M. Pizzuti, P. Gavarotti, A. Levis, E. Orlandi, L. Orsucci, M. Pini, D. R. Scalabrini, F. Salvi, V. Secondo, G. Todeschini, P. Viero, C. Volta, L. Resegotti

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Background: Chemotherapy regimens devised for elderly patients with intermediate-high grade NHL are a matter of discussion. The aim is to reduce general toxicity without loosing an antilymphoma effect. The most important limiting factor of chemotherapy is myelotoxicity; for this reason the use of growth factor may be useful in these patients. Patients and methods: From November '91 to November '92, 67 pts older than 65 years with intermediate-and high-rade advanced-stage NHL were treated with the P-VEBEC regimen, an original scheme with epirubicin 50 mg/m2, cyclophosphamide 350 mg/m2 and etoposide 100 mg/m2 on weeks 1, 3, 5, 7; vinblastine 5 mg/m2 and bleomycin 5 mg/ m2 on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, prednisone 50 mg/m2/day p. os in the first 2 weeks and thereafter every other day. Twenty-eight pts received r-GSF 5 μg/kg/day throughout the treatment starting on day 2 of every week for 4 consecutive days. Their median age was 71 years (65-80), 31 pts were male and 36 female, histology according W.E was D 6; E 17; F 16; G 19; H 9. Twenty-five percent of pts had B symptoms, 35% had bulky disease, 41% LDH level > normal, 44% stage IV and 26% had B.M. involvement. Results: C.R. was achieved by 66% of pts. Adverse prognostic factors for CR were E histology, stage IV, bone marrow infiltration and LDH above normal. Severe toxicity was never recorded, no toxic death was observed. With a median follow-up of 24 months OS, DFS and EFS were 55%, 52%, and 33%, respectively. EFS was influenced by stage, BM involvement and level of LDH. The relative dose intensity (RDI) was calculated by the method of Hryniuk and Bush. Patients who received rG-CSF had a significantly higher median RDI (94% vs 79%) and lower myelotoxicity (neutrophil nadir 80% (89% vs 56%). EFS was also better in pts who received a RDI higher than 80% (50% vs 18% p = 0.05). Conclusion: P-VEBEC is a feasible cycle in elderly patients; the use of rG-CSF improves RDI. In patients with adverse prognostic factors (BM involvement, poor performance status) a RDI >0.80 could play a role in improving the outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-900
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Elderly patients
  • Lymphoma
  • rG-CSF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Hematology


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