Dose-dense R-CHOP-14 supported by pegfilgrastim in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a phase II study of feasibility and toxicity

Ercole Brusamolino, Chiara Rusconi, Luigi Montalbetti, Livio Gargantini, Lilj Uziel, Graziella Pinotti, Sergio Fava, Luigi Rigacci, Guido Pagnucco, Cristiana Pascutto, Enrica Morra, Mario Lazzarino
Haematologica 2006, 91 (4): 496-502

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and toxicity of CHOP-14, with rituximab (R-CHOP-14), supported by pegfilgrastim, in untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

DESIGN AND METHODS: This study included 50 patients with DLBCL with a median age of 55 years (range: 22-70). Sixty-two percent had an International Prognostic Index score >1, 40% had bulky disease and 52% had stage IV disease. CHOP was administered every 14 days, preceded on day 1 by rituximab (375 mg/m2) and followed on day 3 by pegfilgrastim (6 mg per cycle). Toxicity was calculated over 277 cycles administered; feasibility was calculated over 227, since the first cycle in each patient was not susceptible to delay or dose-reduction.

RESULTS: Therapy was delivered on time in 92% of cycles, with the relative dose intensity being 95% for doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. Grade 4 neutropenia developed in 19% of cycles and neutropenic fever in 4% of cycles (16% of patients), with a median duration of 3 days (range: 2-10). The program was completed in 40 of 50 patients (80%); reasons for withdrawal included progression in three patients, interstitial pneumonia in four, prolonged severe neutropenia in two and septic shock in one patient. Severe adverse events occurred on 12 occasions (4% of cycles), involving 11 patients (22% of total); the most frequent severe adverse event was interstitial pneumonia which occurred in seven patients (14% of total). In three cases, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia was documented; no cotrimoxazole prophylaxis had been given and a correlation with hypogammaglobulinemia was observed. The complete remission rate was 74%; the 2-year event-free and overall survival rates were 72% and 68%, respectively.

INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: A single dose of pegfilgrastim per cycle of R-CHOP allowed on-time delivery of this chemotherapy in DLBCL, with a low incidence of febrile neutropenia; the risk of P. carinii pneumonia makes cotrimoxazole prophylaxis essential in this setting.

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