Background: DLBCL without an event (disease progression, retreatment or death) within 24 months post diagnosis have a subsequent overall survival equivalent to that of the age- and sex-matched general population. In contrast, patients with an event with 24 months post diagnosis have poor survival. Patients experiencing early events are a heterogeneous group, consisting of patients with primary refectory disease and responding patients who later developed relapse. While the outcome of patients with primary refractory disease have been recently studied, little is known about or patients who have a response following immunochemotherapy (IC) and proceed to surveillance. These patients are the subject of recently completed and ongoing post-IC maintenance trials. To provide perspective, we analyzed outcomes of patients from a prospective observational study entering post IC.

Methods: Newly diagnosed patients with DLBCL and treated with anthracycline-based immunochemotherapy were enrolled in the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic SPORE Molecular Epidemiology Resource (MER) from 2002-2009. End of immunochemotherapy (EOIC) was defined as the date the patient entered surveillance after completion of anthracycline-based IC as per our previous study of surveillance imaging. Response status at EOIC was abstracted as reported from the clinical and radiographic (CT and/or PET) reports. EFS24 was defined being event-free at 24 months from diagnosis, where events consisted of progression, re-treatment, or death (any cause) after initial immunochemotherapy. Survival from EOIC was compared to the general United States population using standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and expected survival. Logistic regression with EFS24 as the endpoint was used to identify pretreatment variables that inform prognosis at the time of EOIC, using Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) as the measure of association. A subset analysis was performed in the patients aged 60-80 with aaIPI 1-3.

Results: 680 patients with DLBCL were enrolled in the MER and initiated R-CHOP or comparable IC from 2002-2009. 552 pts (81%) completed therapy and proceeded to surveillance. Median age of the 552 patients was 61 years (range 18-92) and 51% were male. At a median FU of 89 months from EOIC (range 5-156), 146 pts (26%) had died, and 467 (86%) achieved EFS24. From EOIC, the 5 year overall survival was 82% compared to 91% expected based on age and sex matched general population; SMR was 1.88 (95% CI: 1.60-2.22). In the patients age 60-80 with aaIP1 1-3, (N=203), 79% achieved EFS24 and the 5-year OS from EOIC was 75% compared to 89% expected; SMR was 2.08 (95% 1.65-2.61). When examining all 552 patients proceeding to surveillance at end of EOIC, several high-risk disease characteristics at diagnosis were associated with higher risk of failing EFS24 after completion of therapy: ECOG PS 2-4 (OR = 2.72, 95% CI: 1.55-4.78) , LDH> ULN (OR = 3.54, 95% CI: 1.99-6.31), Stage III/IV (OR=2.43, 95% CI: 1.41-4.16), and aaIPI (per-point OR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.54-2.64). Patients reported to be in CR at EOIC were more likely to achieve EFS24 (90%) compared to patients not in CR (72%, p<0.001).

Conclusion: Patients entering surveillance after IC have shortened overall survival when compared with the general US population, with significant proportion of patients having an event within 24 months of diagnosis. Increased aaIPI and response less than CR are risk factors for inferior EFS24 in this group. Assessment of the prognostic value of EOIC response (PR vs. CR based on central review) is ongoing.


Nowakowski:Celgene: Research Funding; Morphosys: Research Funding; Bayer: Consultancy, Research Funding. Maurer:Celgene: Research Funding; Kite Pharma: Research Funding. Howlett:Celgene: Employment, Equity Ownership. Ansell:BMS, Seattle Genetics, Merck, Celldex and Affimed: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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