The main objectives of this study were to determine the feasibility of administering high doses of cyclophosphamide plus recombinant human granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (rhG-CSF) every 14-21 days to patients with follicular small cleaved cell lymphoma. For each patient, the treatment was not considered feasible if fewer than four cycles of cyclophosphamide chemotherapy could be administered on schedule (i.e. at least every 29 days) or (1) hospitalization of the patient for longer than three days was necessary for neutropenic fever (38°C) or bacteriologically documented infection in >50% of the cycles, or (2) grade ≥2 hemorrhage in association with thrombocytopenia of grade ≥3 severity occurred in >50% of the cycles or (3) non-hematologic toxicity (excluding nausea/vomiting and alopecia) of grade ≥3 occurred in >50% of cycles. The goal was to have a treatment program feasible in 75% or more of the treated patients. The secondary objectives were to determine the toxicities, the complete and partial response rates, and the time to treatment failure (TTF). The trial also attempted to assess the effectiveness of this treatment program in eradicating Bcl-2 rearrangements by PCR, and to assess complete remission duration in relationship to PCR results in patients who respond to this chemotherapy program. Patients were required to have histologically documented non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the subtypes follicular, predominantly small cleaved cell (IWF-B) or follicular mixed, (IWF-C). Patients were required to have Stage IV disease including histologic evidence of bone marrow involvement. Measurable disease was required and patients were also required to have one of the following risk factors: ≥2 extranodal sites, node or nodal group ≥5 cm. Submission of fresh bone marrow for molecular genetic studies for the presence of Bcl-2-Ig fusion DNA was mandatory in previously untreated patients. Patients had to be between 18 and physiologic age 55 years (carefully selected patients over age 55 years were also eligible), expected survival >2 years, performance status 0-1, and have adequate renal, hepatic and bone marrow function, and a cardiac ejection fraction ≥50%. Cyclophosphamide 4.5 g/m2 IV was given with mesna every 14 days with rhG-CSF support. Twenty-nine patients were accrued to this trial. The median follow-up time is 5.0 years, with a range of 2.5-6.7 years. The overall response rate was 75% (9 CRs 37.5%, 9PRs 37.5%). The median duration of survival is 5.53 years. The 1-year estimated probability of freedom from treatment failure was 50% and of survival at 1 year was 92%. No strong association was observed between TTF and age, symptomatic stage, histology performance status, number of extranodal sites or baseline Bcl-2 status. At 3 years the survival of all patients was 78% and failure free survival was 17%. 15 (62%) of the 24 eligible previously untreated patients met the criteria for feasibility specified in the protocol. The 95% CI for the feasibility rate is (44 and 82%). Twenty-two of the 24 (92%) previously untreated patients had specimens submitted for testing for Bcl-2 rearrangements. Thirteen of the 22 (59%) were found to have rearrangements at baseline. Post-treatment specimens were submitted for seven of the 13 patients. Four of the seven converted to Bcl-2 negative following treatment. Eight of 13 Bcl-2 positive patients (62%) had a clinical response to treatment. The 95% exact binomial CI for the total response rate in this subgroup is (28 and 88%). This study demonstrates that repetitive doses of cyclophosphamide at 4.5 g/m2 every two weeks with rhG-CSF support can be administered to selected younger patients with advanced follicular lymphoma with morphologic involvement of the bone marrow with acceptable non-hematologic toxicity.
- Follicular lymphoma
- Low grade lymphoma