A German Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) study group designed the BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisolone) regimen. In the BEACOPP regimen, treatment intervals were shortened and the dose-intensity was increased compared with those in the ABVD regimen (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and darcarbacine), resulting in a long-term disease-free survival rate of approximately 75-80%. In the present study, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of the BEACOPP regimen. Between April 2001 and February 2004, 20 patients with HL of stage IIB or higher who had received no previous treatment were enrolled. The patients were aged 17-69 years (median 22 years). The histologic types were mixed cellularity in four cases and nodular sclerosis in 16 cases. The stages were stage IIB in four cases, stage III in 12 cases, and stage IV in four cases. Nineteen (95%) of the 20 patients achieved complete remission. The 3-year survival rate was 100% and the 3-year progression-free survival rate was 89.7%. Adverse drug reactions were grade 4 neutropenia in 12 patients, grade 3-4 thrombocytopenia in seven patients, and grade 3 or higher non-hematologic toxicities in two patients (stomatitis in one patient and ALT/AST elevation in one patient). The BEACOPP regimen for advanced-stage HL showed an excellent complete remission rate and high efficacy even in stage III/IV patients. However, a long-term risk of the BEACOPP regimen is the development of secondary leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome. Therefore, long-term follow-up of these patients, including monitoring for toxicities, is necessary.
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