Double-hit (DHIT) lymphoma is a heterogeneous group of non-Hodgkin lymphomas characterized by concurrent translocations involving MYC and BCL2 and typified by aggressive behavior and poor prognosis with only rare long-term survivors. There is no established treatment for DHIT lymphoma. Since 2003, the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) has adopted the use of intensive chemotherapy CODOX-M/IVAC combined with rituximab (R) followed by high-dose chemotherapy and hematopoietic cell transplantation (HSCT) as definitive treatment for DHIT lymphoma. In younger patients, an ablative matched sibling donor allotransplant (AlloSCT) is preferred over an autotransplant (AutoSCT). For all patients over the age of 60 years only AutoSCT is offered. Total Body Irradiation (TBI) is used as a part of the conditioning regimen for patients younger than 60 years of age. Here we report our provincial experience with this strategy, focusing on the ability to deliver this treatment and survival outcomes.


The Leukemia/BMT Program of British Columbia database and the BCCA Lymphoid Cancer Database were searched to identify all patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphomas with concurrent translocation of MYC and BCL2 (DHIT lymphoma) diagnosed between January 2003-September 2012.


27 cases of DHIT lymphoma were identified with the following characteristics: median age at diagnosis was 55.8 years (range 35.5-70.9 years); 19 (70%) were male; 26 (96%) patients had stage 3/4 disease; 16 (59%) had bone marrow involvement. All cases were HIV negative. Histological diagnosis based on the WHO 2008 classification were: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) n=8 (30%); B-cell lymphoma, unclassifiable, with features intermediate between DLBCL and Burkitt lymphoma (BCL-U) n=17 (63%); B-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALL) n=1; high-grade B-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (NOS) n=1. 13 cases (48%) were transformed from an underlying indolent B-cell lymphoma (12 follicular lymphoma, 1 low-grade B-cell lymphoma NOS). CODOX-M/IVAC + R was administered in 20 patients (74%). 7 patients received alternative chemotherapy regimen (5 R-CHOP, 1 R-CVP, 1 R-ICE) due to patient and/or physician preference. 14 patients (52%) underwent HSCT (7 AutoSCT, 7 AlloSCT), including 11 patients treated CODOX-M/IVAC + R pre-transplant, and 3 patients who received other therapy. 13 patients did not undergo HSCT: primary refractory disease n=7; patient preference n=2; deconditioning n=1; age > 65 and poor performance status n=3. The clinical status at time of transplantation was CR in 5 patients (19%), PR in 8 (30%), progressive disease in 1 (4%). The conditioning regimens included: cyclophosphamide/TBI n=6, VP-16/cyclophosphamide/TBI n=4, BEAM n=3, busulfan/cyclophosphamide n=1. At last follow-up, 15 (56%) patients have died, 14 from disease progression and 1 from complications of AlloSCT. 10 (37%) patients are alive and in remission and 2 patients are alive but have relapsed. 8 of 14 HSCT recipients (6 AutoSCT, 2 AlloSCT) remain alive and free of disease compared with 2 of 13 patients who did not receive HSCT; both disease free survivors received CODOX-M/IVAC + R. Median follow-up for living patients was 31 months (range 6.5-67.3 months). 2-year EFS and OS from the diagnosis of all DHIT lymphoma patients were 35% (95% CI 16%-54%) and 45% (95% CI 20%-65%), respectively. For patients who received CODOX-M/IVAC + R, the 2-year EFS was 37%. For patients who received CODOX-M/IVAC + R followed by SCT, the 2-year EFS was 43%. Patients with BCLU/ALL/High-grade lymphoma NOS had a 2-year EFS of 27% and patients with DLBL had a 2 –year EFS of 50%.


Patients with DHIT lymphoma treated with CODOX-M/IVAC + R followed by SCT can have durable remissions. Regardless, progression during initial therapy prior to SCT remains a significant problem. Patients with DLBCL histology may have a more favorable outcome than those with BCLU.


Savage:Eli-Lilly: Consultancy. Toze:Roche Canada: Research Funding; F Hoffmann-La Roche: Research Funding. Sehn:F Hoffmann-La Roche: Research Funding; Roche Canada: Research Funding. Connors:F Hoffmann-La Roche: Research Funding; Roche Canada: Research Funding. Gerrie:F Hoffmann-La Roche: Research Funding; Roche Canada: Research Funding. Sutherland:Celgene: Honoraria; Janssen: Honoraria; Novartis: Honoraria. Villa:Roche: Honoraria, Research Funding; Lundbeck: Honoraria; Celgene: Honoraria. Song:Roche: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.