Early failure of frontline rituximab-containing chemo-immunotherapy in diffuse large B cell lymphoma does not predict futility of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation.


Journal Article

The poor prognosis for patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who relapse within 1 year of initial diagnosis after first-line rituximab-based chemo-immunotherapy has created controversy about the role of autologous transplantation (HCT) in this setting. We compared autologous HCT outcomes for chemosensitive DLBCL patients between 2000 and 2011 in 2 cohorts based on time to relapse from diagnosis. The early rituximab failure (ERF) cohort consisted of patients with primary refractory disease or those with first relapse within 1 year of initial diagnosis. The ERF cohort was compared with those relapsing >1 year after initial diagnosis (late rituximab failure [LRF] cohort). ERF and LRF cohorts included 300 and 216 patients, respectively. Nonrelapse mortality (NRM), progression/relapse, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) of ERF versus LRF cohorts at 3 years were 9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6% to 13%) versus 9% (95% CI, 5% to 13%), 47% (95% CI, 41% to 52%) versus 39% (95% CI, 33% to 46%), 44% (95% CI, 38% to 50%) versus 52% (95% CI, 45% to 59%), and 50% (95% CI, 44% to 56%) versus 67% (95% CI, 60% to 74%), respectively. On multivariate analysis, ERF was not associated with higher NRM (relative risk [RR], 1.31; P = .34). The ERF cohort had a higher risk of treatment failure (progression/relapse or death) (RR, 2.08; P < .001) and overall mortality (RR, 3.75; P <.001) within the first 9 months after autologous HCT. Beyond this period, PFS and OS were not significantly different between the ERF and LRF cohorts. Autologous HCT provides durable disease control to a sizeable subset of DLBCL despite ERF (3-year PFS, 44%) and remains the standard-of-care in chemosensitive DLBCL regardless of the timing of disease relapse.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hamadani, M; Hari, PN; Zhang, Y; Carreras, J; Akpek, G; Aljurf, MD; Ayala, E; Bachanova, V; Chen, AI; Chen, Y-B; Costa, LJ; Fenske, TS; Freytes, CO; Ganguly, S; Hertzberg, MS; Holmberg, LA; Inwards, DJ; Kamble, RT; Kanfer, EJ; Lazarus, HM; Marks, DI; Nishihori, T; Olsson, R; Reddy, NM; Rizzieri, DA; Savani, BN; Solh, M; Vose, JM; Wirk, B; Maloney, DG; Smith, SM; Montoto, S; Saber, W; Alpdogan, O; Cashen, A; Dandoy, C; Finke, R; Gale, R; Gibson, J; Hsu, JW; Janakiraman, N; Laughlin, MJ; Lill, M; Cairo, MS; Munker, R; Rowlings, PA; Schouten, HC; Shea, TC; Stiff, PJ; Waller, EK

Published Date

  • November 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1729 - 1736

PubMed ID

  • 25008330

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25008330

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1523-6536

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.bbmt.2014.06.036


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States