Treatment of large cell lymphoma in elderly patients with a mitoxantrone, cyclophosphamide, etoposide, and prednisone regimen: long-term follow-up results.

PMID 12491510


Patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) require intensive and extensive therapy, which seems impracticable in elderly patients due to hematologic and extrahematologic toxicity. Consequent dose reduction and therapy attenuation can reduce treatment-related toxicity but also decreases therapeutic efficacy. Thus, age represents a fundamental prognostic factor that has a profound influence on both therapeutic decisions and patient outcome. Between January, 1990 and June, 1997, 145 patients age > 64 years (median age, 72.3 years) with a diagnosis of aggressive NHL were treated on a chemotherapy regimen that consisted of mitoxantrone, cyclophosphamide, etoposide, and prednisone. Ninety-one patients (63%) achieved complete remission, and 48 patients (33%) achieved partial remission, for an overall response rate of 96%. Six patients (4%) were resistant to therapy. The overall survival rate, with a median follow-up of 66 months, was 44%, and the failure free survival rate was 42%. The disease free survival rate was 63.5%, with a median follow-up of 60 months. Multivariate survival analysis showed that the achievement of complete remission was the single most important prognostic factor, which was associated significantly with longer survival (P < 0.0001). Toxicity was moderate, with 5 deaths (3%) due to complications related to therapy. The current results confirm that a protocol devised specifically for elderly patients may reduce toxicity and allow longer overall survival in this particular subset of patients.