A retrospective analysis was performed to investigate the outcome of high-dose therapy (HDT) and autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with follicular lymphomas beyond first remission. Ninety-two patients with primary induction failure or relapsed follicular low-grade lymphoma (FLGL), follicular large cell lymphoma (FLCL), and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL) were treated with myeloablative therapy consisting of etoposide (60 mg/kg), cyclophosphamide (100 mg/kg), and either carmustine (BCNU;15 mg/kg) or fractionated total body irradiation (FTBI; 1200 cGy) followed by transplantation of purged autologous bone marrow or peripheral blood hematopoietic cells. For the 49 patients with relapsed FLGL, the median age was 49 years and the median interval from diagnosis to HDT was 30 months. The 4-year estimate of overall survival (OS) was 60% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45%-75%) and of disease-free survival (DFS) was 44% (95% CI, 29%-59%). Treatment with the FTBI-containing HDT regimen was associated with significantly longer DFS (P = .04) and OS (P = .04) in our multivariate analysis. OS was also significantly longer among those treated with 3 or fewer chemotherapy regimens. For the 26 FLCL patients, the median age was 51 years and in 31% the indication for HDT was primary induction failure. For FLCL patients, the 4-year estimate of OS was 58% (95% CI, 37%-79%) and of DFS was 51% (95% CI, 30%-72%). Among the 17 patients with TFL, 13 (76%) transformed at first relapse, and only 6 patients (35%) achieved complete remission with salvage therapy prior to HDT. For TFL patients, the 4-year estimate of OS was 50% (95% CI, 24%-76%) and of DFS 49% (95% CI, 20%-78%). There were 3 occurrences of myelodysplasia (1 after treatment with TBI, 2 after BCNU treatment), yielding an estimated incidence of 7% (95% CI, 0%-16%) at 56 months. This analysis shows that relapsed FLGL patients treated with 3 or fewer different chemotherapy regimens show inferior survival. The HDT regimen containing FTBI appears to be superior to the BCNU-based regimen for relapsed FLGL, although longer follow-up is needed to evaluate late effects. Lastly, patients with TFL or induction failure and relapsed FLCL can achieve survival outcome comparable to those observed with the indolent follicular lymphomas.
- Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation
- Follicular lymphoma
- High-dose therapy