Early transplants are no better than chemotherapy followed by transplant for NHL patients

June 03, 2011

Patients with a very aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma who receive a stem cell transplant after standard chemotherapy during their first remission have comparable survival rates to those who receive the same standard therapy alone and, if needed, a transplant when they relapse. These findings from a U.S. and Canadian clinical trial of 370 patients conducted at 40 clinical institutions were presented today by Patrick Stiff, MD, lead investigator and director, Loyola Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, at the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

"The trial was based on several preliminary studies that indicated a survival benefit to early stem cell transplants," Dr. Stiff said. "These findings may save some patients from undergoing a stem cell transplant unnecessarily."

However, a subset with all of the possible poor risk factors with this form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma did seem to have a higher chance of survival in a sub- analysis.

"Additional research is necessary to determine the best plan of care for the highest-risk patients," Dr. Stiff said. "In the meantime, these patients will have to consult with their physician to carefully determine their treatment plan."
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Loyola University Health System

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