JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
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Outcomes in patients with aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma after intensive frontline treatment failure.

Cancer 2020 January 16
BACKGROUND: Salvage immunochemotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation is the standard-of-care second-line treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma after first-line R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone). Outcomes after receipt of second-line immunochemotherapy in patients with aggressive B-cell lymphomas who relapse or are refractory to intensive first-line immunochemotherapy regimens (etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and rituximab [R-EPOCH], rituximab, hyperfractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone alternating with methotrexate and cytarabine [R-HyperCVAD], rituximab, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and high-dose methotrexate alternating with ifosfamide, etoposide, and cytarabine [R-CODOX-M/IVAC]) remain unknown.

METHODS: Outcomes of patients with non-Burkitt, aggressive B-cell lymphomas and relapsed/refractory disease after first-line treatment with intensive immunochemotherapy regimens who received platinum-based second-line immunochemotherapy were reviewed retrospectively. Analyses were performed to determine progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) from the time of receipt of second-line immunochemotherapy.

RESULTS: In total, 195 patients from 19 academic centers were included in the study. The overall response rate to second-line immunochemotherapy was 44%, with a median PFS of 3 months and a median OS of 8 months. Patients with early treatment failure (primary refractory or relapse <12 months from completion of first-line therapy) experienced inferior median PFS (2.8 vs 23 months; P < .001) and OS (6 months vs not reached; P < .001) compared with patients with late treatment failure. Although the 17% of patients with early failure who achieved a complete response to second-line immunochemotherapy experienced prolonged survival, this outcome could not be predicted by clinicopathologic features at the start of second-line immunochemotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with early treatment failure after intensive first-line immunochemotherapy experience poor outcomes after receiving standard second-line immunochemotherapy. The use of standard-of-care or experimental therapies currently available in the third-line setting and beyond should be investigated in the second-line setting for these patients.

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