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Am J Hematol. 2013 Apr;88(4):273-6. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23398. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

CD4(+) tumor infiltrating lymphocytes are prognostic and independent of R-IPI in patients with DLBCL receiving R-CHOP chemo-immunotherapy.

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Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Despite the Revised International Prognostic Index's (R-IPI) undoubted utility in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), significant clinical heterogeneity within R-IPI categories persists. Emerging evidence indicates that circulating host immunity is a robust and R-IPI independent prognosticator, most likely reflecting the immune status of the intratumoral microenvironment. We hypothesized that direct quantification of immunity within lymphomatous tissue would better permit stratification within R-IPI categories. We analyzed 122 newly diagnosed consecutive DLBCL patients treated with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP) chemo-immunotherapy. Median follow-up was 4 years. As expected, the R-IPI was a significant predictor of outcome with 5-year overall survival (OS) 87% for very good, 87% for good, and 51% for poor-risk R-IPI scores (P < 0.001). Consistent with previous reports, systemic immunity also predicted outcome (86% OS for high lymphocyte to monocyte ratio [LMR], versus 63% with low LMR, P = 0.01). Multivariate analysis confirmed LMR as independently prognostic. Flow cytometry on fresh diagnostic lymphoma tissue, identified CD4(+) T-cell infiltration as the most significant predictor of outcome with ≥23% infiltration dividing the cohort into high and low risk groups with regard to event-free survival (EFS, P = 0.007) and OS (P = 0.003). EFS and OS were independent of the R-IPI and LMR. Importantly, within very good/good R-IPI patients, CD4(+) T-cells still distinguished patients with different 5 year OS (high 96% versus low 63%, P = 0.02). These results illustrate the importance of circulating and local intratumoral immunity in DLBCL treated with R-CHOP.

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