Purpose: Primary colorectal large B-cell lymphoma is rare and accounts for less than 1% of all malignancies in the colon. Standard treatment for limited stage diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) includes systemic therapy combined with involved field radiation therapy. However, radiation therapy may often not be feasible in patients with primary colon lymphoma. For primary DLBCL of the colon particularly the cecum, surgical resection prior to the administration of systemic chemotherapy has been considered to improve local control. The goal of this study was therefore to determine whether surgical resection improves the outcome of patients with primary DLBCL of the colon.

Methods: Clinical information and outcomes on all the patients with primary DLBCL of the colon seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, between January 1980 and June 2005 were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: There were 28 patients identified with primary colon DLBCL. Pre-existing conditions like colon polyps, Crohn’s disease and diverticulosis were uncommon. The most common presenting symptom was bleeding per rectum seen in 13 patients (46.5%). Other symptoms included abdominal pain, diarrhea and anemia. All patients had early stage disease (stage1–22 patients, stage2–6 patients) at diagnosis. Of the 28 patients, 16 underwent initial surgery followed by chemotherapy, 7 were treated with chemotherapy alone, and 5 patients had inadequate data to determine time to progression or overall survival. Chemotherapy was anthracycline based, with the most common regimen being CHOP (Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, Prednisone). There was no difference in overall survival or time to progression between the 16 patients who received combined modality therapy compared to the 7 patients who received chemotherapy alone. Of the 16 patients who underwent surgical resection followed by chemotherapy, all 5 patients who relapsed, relapsed at other sites in the colon. Conclusion: Surgery as part of combined modality therapy did not appear to improve the outcome of patients with primary DLBCL of the colon. Systemic chemotherapy with an anthracycline-based regimen in combination with rituximab is therefore likely to be sufficient treatment for these patients. Follow-up for these patients should include a colonoscopy to monitor for recurrences at other sites in the colon.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.