Purpose: To evaluate the effect of epirubicin on therapeutic response and survival in patients with indolent non-follicular B-cell lymphomas (INFL) treated with pulsed high-dose chlorambucil. Patients and Methods: A total of 170 untreated patients with advanced/active INFL were randomly assigned to receive either eight cycles of high-dose chlorambucil (15 mg/m2/d) plus prednisone (100 mg/d) for 5 days (HD-CHL-P; arm A) or eight cycles of HD-CHL-P plus epirubicin 60 mg/m2 intravenous on day 1 (arm B). The responding patients were randomly assigned to either maintenance therapy with interferon alfa (IFNα-2a; 3 MU, three times weekly) for 12 months or observation. Results: There were 160 assessable patients (82 males, 78 females; median age, 63 years; range, 33 to 77 years); 77 patients were assigned to arm A, and 83 were assigned to arm B. Induction therapy led to 47 complete responses (CRs; 29.4%) and 68 partial responses (PRs; 42.5%), with no significant difference between the two arms (60 CR + PR in arm A [77.9%] and 55 CR + PR in arm B [66.3%]; P = .07). After a median follow-up of 38 months (range, 2 to 103 months), there was no between-group difference in overall survival (OS; P = .45), failure-free survival (P = .07), or progression-free survival (PFS; P = .5). Eighty-eight patients were randomly assigned to either IFNα-2a (n = 43) or observation (n = 45), without any difference in 3-year PFS (44% and 42%, respectively). Univariate analysis showed that OS was influenced by age, anemia, serum lactate dehydrogenase levels, and International Prognostic Index distribution; multivariate analysis identified age and anemia as having influence on OS. Conclusion: HD-CHL-P treatment outcome in INFL patients was good (50% 3-year PFS, minimal toxicity, and low costs); epirubicin did not add any advantage. One-year IFNα maintenance treatment did not prolong response duration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research