The optimal timing of autologous bone marrow transplantation in Hodgkin's disease patients after a chemotherapy relapse

Christopher E. Desch, Matthew R. Lasala, Thomas J. Smith, Bruce E. Hillner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Purpose: The optimal sequence of salvage chemotherapy (SC) and autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) for Hodgkin's disease (HD) patients who relapse after primary chemotherapy is unknown. We created a decision analysis model to determine the optimal treatment strategy and the most cost-effective approach. Methods: The decision tree simulated a 25-year-old HD patient who relapsed less than 12 months after mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP) chemotherapy. Four strategies used ABMT in some sequence with SC; the final strategy considered SC alone. Clinical data were derived from 17 published reports chosen by explicit criteria. Costs of care were estimated from the published literature and institutional experience. Results: The optimal strategy was ABMT in second relapse, which was superior to the SC-only option by 1.9 years at an incremental cost of $26,200 per each year of life saved. When the probabilities of complete remission and disease-free survival were reduced for SC, similar to the clinical expectation of SC after a seven- or eight-drug regimen like MOPP/doxorubicin, bleomycin, and vinblastine with or without dacarbazine (MOPP/ABV[D]), ABMT in first relapse was the preferred strategy and provided 6 additional months. However, when the data from favorable (or unfavorable) SC and ABMT reports were compared head-to-head in this model, SC followed by ABMT in second relapse was always optimal. Conclusions: All relapsed HD patients should plan to use ABMT in some sequence with SC, if necessary. In most situations the optimal strategy is ABMT in second relapse. This analysis will assist clinicians in planning treatment for relapsed HD patients. It could be refined if historical series were updated to report the incidence and outcomes of SC relapse from seven- or eight-drug regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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