Factors that influence treatment decision-making in elderly DLBCL patients: a case vignette study

M. W. M. van der Poel*, W. J. Mulder, G. J. Ossenkoppele, E. Maartense, M. Hoogendoorn, P. Wijermans, H. C. Schouten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are frequently not treated with standard immunochemotherapy, and this influences survival negatively. The purpose of this study was to gain more insight into treatment decision-making by hematologists. Case vignettes concerning patients with DLBCL were presented to hematologists in the Netherlands. Patient characteristics (age, comorbidity) differed per case. Respondents were asked in each case if they would treat the patient with curative intent by means of full-dose chemotherapy or chemotherapy with dose reduction or if they would not treat the patient with curative intent. The vast majority of respondents would treat an elderly patient diagnosed with DLBCL without a relevant medical history with full-dose chemotherapy irrespective of age. In the presence of comorbidity, lack of social support, cognitive disorders, and untreated depression dose reductions in advance are frequently applied or patients are not treated with curative intent. This is most pronounced for patients aged older than 80 years. Respondents working in a university hospital more frequently refrain form full-dose chemotherapy with curative intent compared to respondents working in tertiary medical teaching hospitals or general hospitals. Patients without a relevant medical history are generally treated with curative intent irrespective of age. Cognitive disorders, comorbidity, and depression reduce the change of being treated with curative intent. This is most prominent in the eldest patient category.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1379
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Elderly
  • Treatment decision-making
  • Comorbidity

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