Histologic conversion in the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas

B. Acker, R. T. Hoppe, T. V. Colby, R. S. Cox, H. S. Kaplan, S. A. Rosenberg

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170 Scopus citations


Between July 1, 1971 and December 31, 1978, 150 patients with favorable subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma [nodular poorly differentiated lymphocytic (NLPD), nodular mixed, or diffuse well differentiated lymphocytic] were entered into prospective randomized clinical trials at Stanford University. Treatments included involved field, total lymphoid, or whole body irradiation, single alkylating agent chemotherapy, combination chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone (CVP) or with cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (C-MOPP), or various combinations of chemotherapy and irradiation. The initial complete response rate (CR) was 79%. Among patients who achieved a CR, 31% later relapsed. There were 78 patients who either failed to achieve a CR or achieved a CR and later relapsed. Histologic conversion (change from initially favorable to an unfavorable subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) was documented in 22/78 patients (28%). However, the actuarial risk for conversion was actually much greater (60% at 8 yr). The median time to documentation of conversion was 51 mo. The most common type of histologic conversion was from NLPD to diffuse histiocytic lymphoma. Documented histologic conversion was often associated with a more aggressive clinical behavior of the lymphoma, and the median survival after conversion was less than 1 yr. However, those patients who achieved a CR after conversion had a more favorable outcome (actuarial survival 75% at 5 yr). No specific risk factors predictive of histologic conversion could be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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