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January 9, 1987

Intensive Chemotherapy With Autologous Marrow Transplantation Is Effective Against Some Resistant Tumors

JAMA. 1987;257(2):151. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390020017004

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CONVENTIONAL CANCER THERAPY can still be effective after tumors have become drug-resistant, according to some oncologists. They say that the secret is to treat patients with lethal doses of chemotherapy and to rescue them with autologous bone marrow transplantation.

For example, Emil Frei III, MD, director of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, advises therapy with high doses of multiple agents. Frei told the recent Bristol-Myers Symposium on Cancer Research in Washington, DC, that his protocol involves the use of intensive chemotherapy employing combinations of alkylating agents, which in the last few years have been found to act synergistically and to trigger little cross-resistance.

At Dana Farber, following induction therapy with standard doses of cyclophosphamide and thio-TEPA, bone marrow is harvested and treated with monoclonal antibodies to eradicate tumor cells. Patients then undergo a short course of therapy with high doses of the two agents followed by marrow reinfusion.