The important prognostic factors were evaluated for T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients in a prospective study using the CEOP-B protocol [a modified cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (CHOP)-like regimen that uses epirubicin instead of doxorubicin with the addition of bleomycin]. Fifty-two patients were enrolled in the study. The overall response rate was 63·5%. The median progression-free survival (PFS) and median overall survival (OS) was 18·0 and 39·5 months respectively. The most common toxicity was neutropenia. The factors related to poor outcome were a high International Prognostic Index (IPI) and a high ‘B’ score (bone marrow involvement, B symptoms, bulky disease). We developed a new prognostic model, namely the Prognostic Group for T cell NHL (PGT) that included four groups: PGT1 (low IPI/low B score), PGT2 (low IPI/high B score), PGT3 (high IPI/Low B score) and PGT4 (high IPI/Low B score). OS and PFS (not reached, 48 months) in the PGT1 group were significantly longer than those (11·5 and 4·8 months) in PGT2. The same result was observed in the PGT3 and PGT4 groups. The CEOP-B regimen was moderately active and tolerable for T-cell NHL patients, and the PGT system might be useful for the prediction of long-term survival of T-cell NHL patients.