Introduction: An ISSWM was recently proposed (Morel et al, ASH 2006), which was based on a large number of patients treated primarily with alkylating agents and /or nucleoside analogues. The ISSWM based on 5 adverse covariates wich defined 3 risk groups: low, intermediate and high risk with 5-years survival rates of 87%, 68% and 36% respectively. In our current analysis, we assessed the impact of this system in patients with WM who received primary treatment with rituximab-based regimens.

Patients and methods: Ninety-three previously untreated, symptomatic patients who received treatment either with single agent rituximab (21 patients) or with the combination of dexamethasone, rituximab, and cyclophosphamide (72 patients) were classified according to the ISSWM, which is based on 5 adverse covariates: age> 65 years, hemoglobin ≤11.5 g/dl, platelet count ≤ 100 x 109/L, β2- microglobulin <3mg/L, serum monoclonal protein concentration >70g/L. Low risk is defined by the presence of ≤ 1 adverse characteristics except age, high risk by the presence of >2 adverse characteristics and intermediate risk by the presence of 2 adverse characteristics or age >65 years.

Results: The disease features of the 93 patients were typical of symptomatic WM: age > 65 years in 63%, males 65%, B-symptoms in 22%, splenomegaly in 29%, lymphadenopathy in 34%. 15% of patients were rated as low risk, 65% as intermediate risk and 20% as high risk. Criteria for initiation of therapy included cytopenia, hyperviscosity, constitutional symptoms, organomegaly or IgM-related disorders. Overall, 62% of patients were alive at 6 years. Median survival was not reached for low and intermediate risk and was 38 months for high risk patients (p=0.006). There was a clear separation of the survival curves in the three groups. At the time of last follow-up the percentage of patients alive was 100%, 82% and 58% for patients classified as low, intermediate and high-risk group respectively.

Conclusions: The recently proposed ISSWM is applicable in patients with WM who receive primary treatment with rituximab-based regimens and may serve as a basis to compare outcomes in different studies.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.