The ESHAP regimen, a combination of the chemotherapeutic drugs etoposide, methylprednisolone (solumedrol), high-dose cytarabine (ara-C), and cisplatin, has been shown to be active against refractory or relapsed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in therapeutic trials. We undertook this study to determine whether this regimen would be effective and tolerable in Korean patients. A total of 40 patients with refractory or relapsed NHL (8 indolent and 32 aggressive) were enrolled in this study. The overall response rate was 70% (95% confidence interval; 59.8-89.7%); 22.5% of patients achieved a complete response and 47.5% a partial response. The median survival duration was 12 months (95% confidence interval; 5.9-18.1 months) and the median duration of progression-free survival was 9 months (95% confidence interval; 1.1-16.9 months). The median survival duration of patients with relapsed NHL was longer than that of patients with refractory lymphoma (15 months vs 4 months, p=0.02). Myelosuppression was the most frequent complication and treatment-related mortality was noted in two patients. These results suggest that the ESHAP regimen is effective in patients with relapsed NHL who have a sensitive disease. The role of ESHAP chemotherapy in discriminating patients who are more likely to benefit from a subsequent transplant should be evaluated in the future.
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