Forty-one patients with advanced Hodgkin’s disease or intermediate or high-grade lymphoma, after having received standard salvage chemotherapy, were treated with a nonablative high-dose regimen of paclitaxel, etoposide and cyclophosphamide (D-TEC) to optimally cytoreduce their disease and simultaneously mobilize peripheral blood stem cells. This regimen produced a response rate of 78% (35% complete and 43.2% partial response) and mobilized sufficient peripheral blood stem cells in 94% of the patients. Thirty-two of these patients then underwent autologous progenitor cell transplantation after ablative conditioning with busulfan, etoposide and cyclophosphamide. Actuarial overall survival at 61 months was 71.9% with an event-free survival (EFS) of 65.6%. Median EFS was 24.4 months. EFS of patients responsive to salvage chemotherapy was 75% at 61 months, compared to 33.3% at 51.4 months in patients resistant to salvage chemotherapy. EFS of patients with disease sensitive to D-TEC was 75% at 61 months compared to 0% at 13.1 months in patients resistant to D-TEC. In a multivariate analysis, the only significant parameter for transplant outcome was sensitivity to D-TEC (p = 0.016), but not sensitivity to standard salvage chemotherapy. Aggressive cytoreduction may permit even those patients who are resistant to standard salvage chemotherapy to become successful transplant candidates.

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