As more new therapeutic agents enter clinical trials, it becomes increasingly more important to have standardized response criteria. Uniform guidelines facilitate acquisition of comparable data, interpretation of data, comparisons of the results among various clinical trials, and identification of new agents with promising activity.
The importance of such standardization is emphasized by the abstract of Grillo-López et al (abstract #1701). To be classified as a complete remission, protocols require that enlarged lymph nodes return to normal size. However, what is considered normal varies among trials. Grillo- López and coworkers demonstrated that merely increasing the definition of normal lymph node size from 1.0 to 1.5 cm resulted in an increase in the complete response rate from 6% to 18% (abstract #1701). An international group of lymphoma experts have developed a series of standardized guidelines for response and definitions of outcomes, which will be published in the April 1999 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. (Cheson et al: J Clin Oncol, 1999 [in press]).
Bruce D. Cheson, MD