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Ann Oncol. 1995 Mar;6(3):257-62.

Patterns of survival in mantle cell lymphoma.

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Servizio Oncologico Cantonale, Ospedale San Giovanni, Bellinzona, Switzerland.



The term mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) describes a subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that includes those lymphomas previously defined as centrocytic lymphoma, intermediate lymphocytic lymphoma, and mantle zone lymphoma. Since MCL has only recently been recognised as a distinct entity, the clinical literature is sparse and very little information is available about its treatment.


We retrospectively attempted to analyse the clinical features and outcome of 65 patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) treated from 1979 to 1993 at two institutions in the same geographic area. Univariate (Log-rank test) and multivariate (Cox regression) analyses of the major prognostic factors were performed.


At the time of analysis the median follow-up was 49 months. Median age was 64 years with a range of 27-85 years. The male to female ratio was 2:1. Forty-seven patients (72%) had stage IV at presentation and 20 (31%) had B-symptoms at presentation. The patients usually presented with generalised adenopathy (78% of cases) and bone marrow involvement (58%). Serum LDH were analysed at diagnosis in 61 patients and found to be elevated in 30%. beta 2-Microglobulin was determined at presentation in 42 patients and was higher than normal in 54% of them. In comparison with the other subtypes of NHLs in our series, MCL appears to have a very poor survival pattern. The median overall survival was 42 months. The CR rate was 51% with a median DFS of 44 months. Good performance status, normal LDH, normal beta 2-microglobulin, younger age (< 65 years), and a low prognostic risk according to the International Index were significantly associated (p < 0.05) with a better outcome.


The characteristics of the patients in this study appear to be in general agreement with those in most of the previously reported series except for the somewhat lower rate of bone marrow infiltration observed in this series. Despite the limitations of a retrospective analysis and the lack of randomization between the treatment options, this study seems to suggest a survival advantage with anthracycline-containing regimens in some patients with MCL. However, this benefit was evident only for the patients with favourable International Index prognostic scores (i.e., low- and to low-intermediate-risk disease) who may already have a better prognosis. Patients with intermediate-high and high-risk disease according to the International Index have a poor prognosis regardless of the type of therapy given.

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