Failure-free survival and overall survival were similar between two combined modality therapies in patients with stage I or II bulky mediastinal Hodgkin’s lymphoma, investigators reported.

The results were published online April 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The phase III trial evaluated outcomes following treatment with either doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) or mechlorethamine, doxorubicin, vincristine, bleomycin, vinblastine, etoposide, and prednisone (Stanford V).

Median failure-free survival (FFS) and overall survival (OS) were not reached in either arm. The 5-year FFS and OS were 85% and 96% for ABVD, respectively, and 79% and 92% for Stanford V, reported Dr. Ranjana H. Advani, professor of oncology at Stanford (Calif.) University, and associates.

At a median follow up of 6.54 years, 19 treatment failures occurred in the ABVD arm and 23 in the Stanford V arm. In total, 14 deaths occurred, 5 in the ABVD group and 9 in the Stanford V group.

Approximately 20%-25% of patients with stage I or II Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) have bulky mediastinal involvement, and this was the first contemporary prospective trial to evaluate this patient subgroup, the investigators wrote (J. Clin. Oncol. 2015 April 20 [doi:10.1200/JCO.2014.57.8138]).

“This is important because ongoing trials in North America use mediastinal bulk as an eligibility criterion, and contemporary guidelines use it to define treatment algorithms,” Dr. Advani and associates said, noting that both regimens are acceptable treatment options.

“In addition, these results provide an important contemporary benchmark for comparison of ongoing and future studies,” they wrote.

Out of 854 patients with HL enrolled in the trial, 264 with bulky disease were eligible for the subgroup analysis; 135 received ABVD and 129 received Stanford V. After completion of chemotherapy, all patients received 36 Gy of modified involved field radiotherapy (IFRT). Patterns of relapse were similar between treatment arms, and less than 10% of patients had in-field recurrences, a finding that indicated effective local control with IFRT.

Both treatment arms had similar rates of grade 3-4 neutropenia, and the Stanford V arm had more grade 3 lymphopenia (83% vs. 46%, P < .001) and grade 3 and 4 sensory neuropathy. At 5 years, both groups had similar risks of second cancers: two in the ABVD group and six in the Stanford group. The assessment of risks associated with higher doses of anthracycline and bleomycin in ABVD and larger radiation fields in Stanford V requires longer follow-up, the researchers wrote.