Peripheral blood absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) at diagnosis is a predictor of survival in B-cell lymphomas. The role of ALC at diagnosis on survival in T-cell lymphoma has not been studied. Thus, we studied the role of ALC at diagnosis on clinical outcome in adult patients with primary anaplastic large cell lymphoma (PALCL) that were diagnosed, treated, and followed at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Between 1985 and 2006, 50 patients with PALCL qualified for the study. ALC was identified to be a strong predictor for complete response (CR), area under the curve (AUC = 0.83, p < 0.002). The median follow-up was 31.8 months (range: 1–212.6 months). ALC, as a continuous variable was a predictor for overall survival (OS) (HR = 0.143; 95%CI = 0.042–0.416; p < 0.0001) and progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 0.150; 95%CI = 0.047–0.415; p < 0.0001) .Superior OS and PFS (Figure 1) were observed with an ALC ≥ 1.0 x 109/L (N = 31) versus an ALC < 1.0 x 109/L (N=19) (median OS: not reached vs 7.5 months, OS rates at 5 years, 81% vs 36%, p < 0.0006, respectively; and median PFS: not reached vs 6.3 months; PFS rates at 5 years, 77% vs 37%, p < 0.0007, respectively). Multivariate analysis demonstrated ALC to be an independent prognostic indicator for OS (HR = 0.196; 95%CI = 0.125–0.693; p < 0.002) and PFS (HR = 0.191; 95%CI = 0.053–0.559; p < 0.0008) when compared to anaplastic lymphoma kinase, international prognostic index, and cutaneous versus systemic presentation.

This study supports our hypothesis that a higher ALC predicts CR and survival in PALCL. This study was supported in part by a Lymphoma SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute CA97274.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.