One hundred and thirty-six patients autografted for relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) were evaluated to assess long-term event-free survival and to identify important prognostic factors. High-dose therapy consisted primarily of carmustine (BCNU), etoposide, cytarabine, and cyclophosphamide (BEAC) followed by unpurged autologous stem cell rescue. The 5-year Kaplan-Meier event-free survival (EFS) for the entire cohort was 34% (95% confidence interval: 24-44%) with a median follow-up of approximately 3 years (range 0-7.5 years). For patients entering with minimal disease (defined as all areas ≤ 2 cm), the 5-year EFS was 40 vs 26% for those entering with bulky disease (P = 0.0004). In the multivariate analysis, minimal disease on entry and administration of involved-held XRT post-transplant were significantly associated with improved EFS; the latter association was observed mainly in the cohort of patients with bulky disease. The overall 100-day treatment-related mortality rate was 4.4% (3% for the last 71 patients). New strategies are needed to reduce the high rate of relapse (50-60%) following autotransplantation for relapsed or refractory NHL.
- Prognostic factors