Background. Patients with lymphoma who have experienced a first relapse or progression and have disease deemed sensitive to salvage chemotherapy nevertheless have a high likelihood of having a second relapse. To decrease the likelihood of a second relapse after high-dose therapy (HDT) and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), interferon (IFN) alpha-2b was given in a prospective randomized international trial. Methods. In this trial, 221 patients with varying histologic diagnoses (8 small lymphocytic, 37 follicular, 9 mantle, 90 diffuse large B-cell, 20 peripheral T-cell, 3 high-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and 54 Hodgkin lymphoma) were randomly assigned to receive no further treatment (armA: 117 patients) or IFN alpha-2b, 3 MU three times weekly, for 18 months (arm B: 104 patients). Results. In arm B, 21 patients (20%) did not receive IFN alpha-2b because of early progression or absence of hematologic recovery, 29 patients (28%) completed the 18 months of treatment, and 54 patients (52%) interrupted treatment because of progression (23%) or toxicity (29%). Event-free survival and overall survival were not different between the two arms on an intent-to-treat analysis and also if analysis was restricted to patients who were a live and had not experienced disease progression three months after transplantation. The study was not sufficiently powered to evaluate effects in histologic subtypes. Conclusion. In this trial, post-autograft IFN alpha-2b did not improve outcomes in a heterogeneous group of patients with lymphoma.
2013. Vol. 18, no 11, 1189-1189 p.