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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of interferon as initial and maintenance therapy in patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma. Between 1984 and 1994, 204 patients with newly diagnosed Stage III or Stage IV follicular lymphoma were randomized to receive either, Chlorambucil (CB): 10 mg daily for 6 weeks, followed by a 2-week interval, with 3 subsequent 2-week treatment periods at the same dose, separated by 2-week intervals, or, CB given concurrently with interferon (IFN). IFN was given at a dose of 3 x 10(6)units thrice weekly, subcutaneously, throughout the 18-week treatment period. Responding patients were subsequently randomized to receive maintenance IFN at the dose and schedule described above, or to expectant management. The overall response rate was 161/204 (78%), complete remission being achieved in 24% of patients. Neither the addition of IFN to the initial treatment, nor the use of maintenance IFN influenced response rate, remission duration or survival. This study was undertaken to determine whether IFN, given in combination with, and then subsequent to, CB would alter the clinical course of patients with follicular lymphoma. Disappointingly, this objective was not achieved, no advantage having been demonstrated for the addition of IFN.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of cancer

Publication Date





29 - 35


ICRF Medical Oncology Unit, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, West Smithfield, EC1A 7BE.


Humans, Lymphoma, Follicular, Chlorambucil, Interferons, Antineoplastic Agents, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Neoplasm Staging, Disease-Free Survival, Remission Induction, Drug Administration Schedule, Survival Rate, Proportional Hazards Models, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Male