Background: Children with recurrent or refractory malignant lymphoma generally have a poor prognosis. There is a need for new active drug combinations for this high-risk group of patients. Patients and methods: This study evaluated the activity and toxicity of the methotrexate, ifosfamide, etoposide and dexamethasone (MIED) regimen for childhood refractory/recurrent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) or Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). From 1991 through 2006, 62 children with refractory/recurrent NHL (n = 24) or HL (n = 38) received one to six cycles of MIED. Based on MIED response, intensification with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was considered. Results: There were 10 complete (CR) and 5 partial responses (PR) among the 24 children with NHL [combined response rate, 63%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 38% to 73%]. There were 13 CR and 18 PR among the 37 assessable children with HL (combined response rate, 84%; 95% CI, 68% to 94%). Although 59% courses were associated with grade IV neutropenia, treatment was well tolerated and without toxic deaths. Conclusions: MIED is an effective regimen for refractory/recurrent childhood malignant lymphoma, permitting a bridge to intensification therapy with HSCT.
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