Background Patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and refractory to the first line of treatment or in relapse, received the BEAM conditioning regimen (carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, melphalan) followed by transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells.
Purpose To define the characteristics of patients who received this protocol, evaluate its effectiveness, and analyse the tolerance in relation to the carmustine, a cytotoxic agent responsible for many side effects.
Materials and Methods We conducted a retrospective study on patients who received this treatment between January 2001 and September 2011 in the paediatric haematology oncology ward.
A data collection document was created to list the patients’ characteristics and information related to the protocol (tolerance, efficacy and previous chemotherapy).
Results 14 children with Hodgkin’s lymphoma aged between 5 and 17 were given BEAM protocol transplantation conditioning after a relapse (79%) or after tumoural progression during the previous chemotherapies (21%).
Following the BEAM protocol treatment, the overall remission rate was 57%.
Carmustine treatment led to adverse effects in 66% of patients during the infusion. During the 3 months after the transplantation, the main adverse effects were digestive disorders, fever and hematemesis. In the longer term, various pulmonary disorders were observed (pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, breathlessness on exertion, etc.).
Conclusions This protocol resulted in remission in approximately two thirds of the cases regardless of the disease stage. The overall tolerance was relatively good, despite some severe pulmonary damage probably related to the toxicity of the carmustine.
In view of these results, the BEAM protocol could be used widely in children with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
No conflict of interest.
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