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Am J Hematol. 2013 Oct;88(10):890-4. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23524. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Outcomes of patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with progression of lymphoma after autologous stem cell transplantation in the rituximab era.

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Lymphoma Program, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Salvage chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) remains the current standard of care for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with chemosensitive disease. The addition of rituximab results in improved overall survival (OS) after first-line treatment, but cure rates of salvage therapy with ASCT are inferior when compared to historical controls. Historically, patients with DLBCL with disease progression following ASCT have had an extremely poor prognosis with a median OS of 3 months. However, there are little data regarding outcomes in the rituximab era. We performed a retrospective study of 56 patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL with prior exposure to rituximab who had disease progression following ASCT. The median OS from progression following ASCT for the cohort was 9.9 months (95% CI: 5.3-13.1 months). Patients who progressed less than 1 year from ASCT had a significantly shorter OS than those who progressed at 1 year or greater from ASCT (8.2 vs. 26.7 months, P = 0.01). Patients with at least stable disease following ASCT had a longer OS than those who progressed immediately after ASCT (12.3 vs. 5.3 months, P = 0.01). Other factors associated with OS were International Prognostic Index (IPI) (P = 0.01) and LDH level (P = 0.0003) at the time of progression following ASCT. In the rituximab era, the prognosis for patients with disease progression following ASCT remains poor, but is improved when compared with historical controls. Ultimately, more work needs to be done to develop novel therapeutic strategies tailored to individual patients in this heterogeneous population.

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