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Haematologica. 2011 Jul;96(7):1002-7. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2011.041277. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with involvement of the kidney: outcome and risk of central nervous system relapse.

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British Columbia Cancer Agency, 600 West 10 Ave Vancouver, BC V5Z4E6, Canada.



Renal involvement is uncommon in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Recent data suggest that it is an independent risk factor for central nervous system relapse. We reviewed the clinical features, risk of central nervous system involvement, and survival of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with involvement of the kidney at diagnosis.


All patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and renal involvement diagnosed from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 2008 at the British Columbia Cancer Agency were retrospectively identified in the Lymphoid Cancer Database. Patients were included if they were 16 years old or over, had advanced stage disease [stage III/IV, or stage I/II with B symptoms or bulky mass (>10 cm)] and were treated with curative intent. Central nervous system involvement was diagnosed by cerebrospinal fluid cytology, radiology or clinically.


We identified 55/2656 (2%) patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and renal involvement at diagnosis. The male to female ratio was 2:1. The patients' median age was 58 years. Bilateral renal involvement was present in 24 (44%) and stage IV disease in 50 (91%). The International Prognostic Index score was 3, 4 or 5 in 52 (95%), the glomerular filtration rate was less than 30 mL/min/m² in 9 (16%) and elevated lactate dehydrogenase was recorded in 46 (84%). Twenty-five (46%) patients received CHOP plus rituximab and 30 (54%) received CHOP-like regimens without rituximab. In total, 20 (36%) patients had central nervous system involvement: four at the time of diagnosis and 16 at relapse. The median time to central nervous system relapse was 5.6 months (range, 1.2 months-4.6 years), and was not affected by the addition of rituximab (P=0.547). The 5-year overall and progression-free survival rates for the whole cohort were 29% and 25%, respectively. In patients who received rituximab, there were trends towards improved 5-year overall survival (43% versus 18%, P=0.071) and progression-free survival (40% versus 13%, P=0.057).


There is an exceptionally high incidence of central nervous system relapse in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and kidney involvement at diagnosis. The addition of rituximab may improve overall survival in this poor-risk population, likely through improved control of systemic disease.

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