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ESHAP regimen

Abstract: ESHAP--an effective chemotherapy regimen in refractory and relapsing lymphoma: a 4-year follow-up study.

PURPOSE: This study attempted to determine the efficacy of the combination of etoposide (VP-16), methyl-prednisolone, and cytarabine (Ara-C) with or without cisplatin in relapsing and refractory adult lymphoma patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The first 63 patients were randomized to receive VP-16 40 mg/m2/d for 4 days, methylprednisolone 500 mg intravenously daily for 5 days, and Ara-C 2 g/m2 intravenously over 2 to 3 hours on day 5 with or without cisplatin 25 mg/m2 IV administered by 24-hour infusion for 4 days (ESHA +/- P). Markedly different responses between ESHA (33%) and ESHAP (75%) led to deletion of the ESHA arm. A total of 122 patients on the ESHAP regimen were studied. RESULTS: Forty-five patients (37%) attained a complete remission (CR) and 33 (27%) attained a partial remission (PR), for a total response rate of 64%. The median duration of CR was 20 months, with 28% of remitters still in CR at 3 years. The overall median survival duration was 14 months; the survival rate at 3 years was 31%. Overall time to treatment failure (TTF) showed 10% of all patients to be alive and disease-free at 40 months. Response and survival rates were similar in patients with low-grade (n = 34), intermediate-grade (n = 67), transformed (n = 18), and high-grade (n = 3) lymphoma. The most significant factors for response and survival by multivariate analysis were the serum lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) level, tumor burden, and age (when analyzed as a continuous variable), while prior CR was highly significant by univariate analysis. A significant difference in survival was noted for patients with normal LDH levels and low- or intermediate-tumor burden or patients with low tumor burden and elevated LDH levels (55% 3-year survival rate) versus patients with elevated LDH levels and intermediate or high tumor burden (< 20%). Major toxicities included myelosuppression, with a median granulocyte count of 500/microL and platelet count of 70,000/microL. CONCLUSION: ESHAP was found to be an active, tolerable chemotherapy regimen for relapsing and refractory lymphoma. Applying a prognostic model based on tumor burden and serum LDH level shows significant differences in survival in this patient population.


Velasquez WS, McLaughlin P, Tucker S, Hagemeister FB, Swan F, Rodriguez MA, Romaguera J, Rubenstein E, Cabanillas F. ESHAP--an effective chemotherapy regimen in refractory and relapsing lymphoma: a 4-year follow-up study. J Clin Oncol. 1994 Jun;12(6):1169-76.


VP-16....... 40 mg / M2 IV (over 1 h) days 1-4
Methylprednisolone....... 500 mg IV (over 15 min) days 1-4
Cytarabine....... 2000 mg / M2 IV (over 2 h) day 5
Cisplatin....... 25 mg / M2 CIV (over 96 h) days 1-4
FREQUENCY every 21-28 days.

  Overall Response Rate  
  Progression Free Survival  
  Overall Survival  

Article reviewed by:

Dr. Tamer Fouad, M.D.

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