Abstract 3705

Poster Board III-641


The main challenge in treating Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is to find the optimal treatment with the best efficacy and least toxicity. So far there are two different international standards for the treatment of intermediate and advanced stage HL: chemotherapy with ABVD regime and chemotherapy with escalated BEACOPP regime. This review aims to clarify advantages and disadvantages of both treatments.


MEDLINE, CENTRAL and EMBASE were systematically searched for randomised controlled trials from 1985 to 2008. Trials comparing treatment with at least 2 cycles escalated BEACOPP versus chemotherapy with at least 4 cycles of ABVD within patients in intermediate or advanced stages HL were included. Trials without any published results will be excluded from the meta-analysis. Trial selection, quality assessment and data extraction were done independently by two review authors. Time-to-event outcome were analyzed with hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) in a fixed effects model.


A total of 683 references were screened. Four eligible trials with 1970 patients were identified and included in the main analysis: the HD9 and HD14 trials from Germany, the HD2000 and GSM-HD trials from Italy. The escalated BEACOPP regime was more toxic during treatment than ABVD. Progression free survival (PFS) was statistically significantly longer for escalated BEACOPP: HR was 0.53 (95% CI [0.42, 0.67], I2=0%). In the main analysis of overall survival (OS), escalated BEACOPP was statistically significantly better than ABVD: HR was 0.70 (95% CI [0.50, 0.98], I2=0%). However, this result is not robust. In the OS-analysis restricted to advanced stage trials, the HR was 0.93 (95% CI [0.52, 1.04], I2=0%). Due to the high weight of the HD9 trial (57%), the OS-results are strongly influenced by this trial. In a sensitivity OS analysis without the HD9 trial the HR was 0.83 (95% CI [0.50, 1.38]). Only one trial (HD9) had a follow-up of over 5 years; the median of the other trials was approx. 3 years.


This meta-analysis showed a better PFS and suggests a benefit in OS for escalated BEACOPP in comparison to ABVD-like regimen. However, many trials had a short follow-up. Longer follow-up and the inclusion of the ongoing EORTC 20012 trial should allow a more definitive answer concerning OS.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.