Combined chemotherapy in 76 children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma excluding Burkitt's lymphoma.
From January 1983 to December 1986 seventy-six previously untreated children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) were treated by combination chemotherapy. Burkitt's lymphoma patients were ineligible. The treatment regimens include intermittent chemotherapy and for non-localized patients, prophylactic central nervous system chemotherapy. Intrathoracic non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients also had cranial prophylactic radiotherapy. Sixty-six patients (86.8%) achieved complete remission. Two year failure-free survival rate was 82.1% for localized (stage I and II) NHL and 53.3% for non-localized (stage III and IV) NHL patients. Failure-free survival did not differ significantly for the two major histologic diagnoses, but two year survival rate was lower in diffuse poorly differentiated lymphoblastic than undifferentiated non-Burkitt's lymphoma (50% versus 66.8% respectively). Failure-free survival rate was 53.7% in mediastinal disease and, 73.2% in abdominal disease at 24 months. Relapse rate was higher in mediastinal cases (46.1%) than primary abdominal cases (24.3%) at 24 months. Eleven (13.5%) died of treatment related sepsis. Although the overall survival rate was 72.4% at 2 years we need novel or more intensive programmes for mediastinal and non-localized disease.