High-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell transplantation is the standard treatment for patients with relapsed or primary refractory Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The efficacy of the treatment in this setting has prompted extensive investigation of its role in upfront therapy for patients with a poor prognosis. Although the preliminary data appear promising, definitive results are still lacking, and upfront transplantation remains investigational. Newer regimens for the treatment of advanced-stage Hodgkin's disease appear to confer cure rates of approximately 85% to 90%. Thus, only a small minority of patients may potentially benefit from more aggressive therapy such as upfront transplantation. A reliable method of identifying these patients is yet to be determined. Upfront transplantation should be evaluated in these patients once they are identified.
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