Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Primary Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Supposed Zugzwang or Zwischenzug?

GD Petrova1, KN Melkova1, TZ Chernyavskaya1, NV Gorbunova1, BV Afanasev2, EA Demina1, VN Kostrykina1, VA Doronin1

1 N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center, 24 Kashirskoye sh., Moscow, Russian Federation, 115478

2 R.M. Gorbacheva Scientific Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology and Transplantation; Academician I.P. Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University, 12 Rentgena str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197022

For correspondence: Galina Dmitrievna Petrova, graduate student, 24 Kashirskoye sh., Moscow, Russian Federation, 115478; Tel.: +7(499)324-13-59; e-mail:

For citation: Petrova GD, Melkova KN, Chernyavskaya TZ, et al. Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Primary Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Supposed Zugzwang or Zwischenzug? Clinical oncohematology. 2015;8(3):321–30 (In Russ).


Background & Aims. The role of single and double autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (autoSCT) in patients with primary refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) has not been determined yet. The aim of the study is to present the results of a one-center prospective study evaluating the role of single and double autoSCT in patients with HL who have not achieved the complete remission (CR) after first line induction polychemotherapy (PCT).

Methods. 62 HL patients were enrolled in the study over the period from 2007 till 2014. High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with autoSCT was performed once in 53 patients, and twice in 10 patients.

Results. The study demonstrated an unfavorable prognostic impact of the large volume of previous chemotherapy on the overall survival (OS) rate after the autoSCT (= 0.03). Results of the 1st autoSCT had an independent prognostic value for the OS rate (= 0.004). The study identified the main indication for the 2nd autoSCT, namely, partial remission (PR) or stable disease (SD) achieved after the 1st autoSCT (when the 2nd HDCT with autoSCT should be preferred to the alternative treatment; = 0.004). Progressive disease (PD) after the first autoSCT is a contraindication for the second one. Due to low efficacy and high toxicity, the 2nd autoSCT does not improve outcomes when compared to alternative approaches (= 0.6). The importance of achieving CR at any stage of treatment which is associated with a long life span with no signs of disease and good quality of life has been demonstrated.

Conclusion. AutoSCT is an effective treatment option for patients without complete remission after the first line antitumor treatment. Carrying out 2nd autoSCT is advisable for patients who have reached the PR/SD after the first one. Patients with PD after the 1st autoSCT require an alternative treatment option.

Keywords: Hodgkin’s lymphoma, high-dose chemotherapy, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, primary resistance, double autoSCT.

Received: May 5, 2015

Accepted: June 2, 2015

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