Low-Intensity Chemo Highly Effective in Burkitt Lymphoma

Results from a new clinical trial conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute showed that adults with Burkitt lymphoma had excellent long-term survival rates (~90%) after treatment with low-intensity chemotherapy regimens. Patients with Burkitt lymphoma are usually treated with high-dose chemotherapy, which has a high toxicity rate and only a 60% cure rate.

RELATED: Oncology Resource Center

The clinical trial involved two variants of EPOCH-R, a chemotherapy regimen that includes: etoposide (E), prednisone (P), vincristine (Oncovin), cyclophosphamide (C), doxorubicin (Hydrodoxorubicin), and rituximab (R). EPOCH-R involves longer exposures to lower concentrations of drugs instead of shorter exposures to higher concentrations of drugs.

A total of 30 patients were enrolled, and they received one of the two EPOCH-R variants, depending on their HIV status: HIV-negative patients received dose-adjusted (DA)-EPOCH-R (n=19), and  HIV-positive patients received short-course (SC)-EPOCH-RR (n=11), which includes two doses of rituximab per cycle and has a lower treatment intensity than DA-EPOCH-R. 

The median follow-up times were at 86 and 73 months. Study results showed that overall survival rates were 100% and 90%, respectively, for the DA-EPOCH-R and SC-EPOCH-RR arms.

Results of this trial are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two trials to evaluate the efficacy of EPOCH-R therapy in adult and pediatric Burkitt lymphoma patients are underway.

For more information call (800) 422-6237 or visit the National Cancer Institute page.