Could BEACOPP Be the New Standard for the Treatment of Advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma?
AbstractIn 1992, the German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG) developed the BEACOPP regimen for further improving the outcome of patients with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). Since then, BEACOPP has been introduced in 3 different prospective randomized clinical trials of the GHSG to find an equilibrium between maximal efficacy and least toxicity with the BEACOPP principle for the treatment of advanced stage HL. In the HD9 trial of the GHSG, with 1,186 patients, after a median observation time of 7 years, the rates for FFTF are 85 percent and for overall survival 90 percent for dose-escalated BEACOPP, and for COPP/ABVD (C/ABVD comparable to ABVD) the rate for FFTF is 67 percent and for overall survival it is 79 percent. These superior BEACOPP results are obtained inspite of a higher rate of secondary AML/MDS in the escalated BEACOPP arm. The number of toxic deaths during treatment, however, was lower for escalated BEACOPP (1.6 percent) than for C/ABVD (1.8 percent). The majority of patients were treated in an outpatient setting, in a multicenter study with more than 400 centers, including 120 private doctors, located in Germany and 9 other European countries. To reduce acute and long-term toxicity, the GHSG started in the consecutive studies HD12 and HD15 for advanced stage HL to de-escalate BEACOPP by reducing the number of escalated BEACOPP cycles and by applying the baseline dose BEACOPP, a time dense regimen, called BEACOPP-14. The excellent results obtained with the BEACOPP principle challenge the seemingly global consensus that ABVD is the gold standard treatment strategy for advanced stage HL.