Early Failure of Frontline Rituximab-Containing Chemo-immunotherapy in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma Does Not Predict Futility of Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Mehdi Hamadani, Parameswaran N. Hari, Ying Zhang, Jeanette Carreras, G??rg??n Akpek, Mahmoud D. Aljurf, Ernesto Ayala, Veronika Bachanova, Andy I. Chen, Yi Bin Chen, Luciano J. Costa, Timothy S. Fenske, C??sar O. Freytes, Siddhartha Ganguly, Mark S. Hertzberg, Leona A. Holmberg, David J. Inwards, Rammurti T. Kamble, Edward J. Kanfer, Hillard M. LazarusDavid I. Marks, Taiga Nishihori, Richard Olsson, Nishitha M. Reddy, David A. Rizzieri, Bipin N. Savani, Melhem Solh, Julie M. Vose, Baldeep Wirk, David G. Maloney, Sonali M. Smith, Silvia Montoto, Wael Saber

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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. (C) 2014 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1736
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • Aggressive lymphoma
  • Autologous transplantation
  • Diffuse large Bcell lymphoma
  • Early failure
  • High-dose therapy
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Rituximab
  • Diffuse large B cell lymphoma

Cite this

Hamadani, M., Hari, P. N., Zhang, Y., Carreras, J., Akpek, G., Aljurf, M. D., Ayala, E., Bachanova, V., Chen, A. I., Chen, Y. B., Costa, L. J., Fenske, T. S., Freytes, C. O., Ganguly, S., Hertzberg, M. S., Holmberg, L. A., Inwards, D. J., Kamble, R. T., Kanfer, E. J., ... Saber, W. (2014). Early Failure of Frontline Rituximab-Containing Chemo-immunotherapy in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma Does Not Predict Futility of Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 20(11), 1729-1736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2014.06.036