Several treatment strategies are available for adults with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma, but studies assessing two alternative standards of care-increased dose bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (BEACOPPescalated), and doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD)-were not powered to test differences in overall survival. To guide treatment decisions in this population of patients, we did a systematic review and network meta-analysis to identify the best initial treatment strategy.
We searched the Cochrane Library, Medline, and conference proceedings for randomised controlled trials published between January, 1980, and June, 2013, that assessed overall survival in patients with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma given BEACOPPbaseline, BEACOPPescalated, BEACOPP variants, ABVD, cyclophosphamide (mechlorethamine), vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (C[M]OPP), hybrid or alternating chemotherapy regimens with ABVD as the backbone (eg, COPP/ABVD, MOPP/ABVD), or doxorubicin, vinblastine, mechlorethamine, vincristine, bleomycin, etoposide, and prednisone combined with radiation therapy (the Stanford V regimen). We assessed studies for eligibility, extracted data, and assessed their quality. We then pooled the data and used a Bayesian random-effects model to combine direct comparisons with indirect evidence. We also reconstructed individual patient survival data from published Kaplan-Meier curves and did standard random-effects Poisson regression. Results are reported relative to ABVD. The primary outcome was overall survival.
We screened 2055 records and identified 75 papers covering 14 eligible trials that assessed 11 different regimens in 9993 patients, providing 59 651 patient-years of follow-up. 1189 patients died, and the median follow-up was 5·9 years (IQR 4·9-6·7). Included studies were of high methodological quality, and between-trial heterogeneity was negligible (τ(2)=0·01). Overall survival was highest in patients who received six cycles of BEACOPPescalated (HR 0·38, 95% credibility interval [CrI] 0·20-0·75). Compared with a 5 year survival of 88% for ABVD, the survival benefit for six cycles of BEACOPPescalated is 7% (95% CrI 3-10)-ie, a 5 year survival of 95%. Reconstructed individual survival data showed that, at 5 years, BEACOPPescalated has a 10% (95% CI 3-15) advantage over ABVD in overall survival.
Six cycles of BEACOPPescalated significantly improves overall survival compared with ABVD and other regimens, and thus we recommend this treatment strategy as standard of care for patients with access to the appropriate supportive care.