Abstract

The role of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for indolent lymphoma has evolved over the last 5 years with the availability of novel low-toxicity therapies and a better understanding of the prognosis of these entities. However, despite numerous treatment options for patients with follicular lymphoma, none are thought to be curative, and many require ongoing therapy with chronic toxicity. Historical trials indicate that autologous HCT as initial consolidation leads to improved progression-free survival, but not overall survival (OS) and, thus, is not typically recommended. However, autologous HCT for chemosensitive relapse can be carried out with ∼1% early mortality risk, affording disease control lasting a median of 3 to 5 years and the potential to improve OS. These results may compare favorably in efficacy, toxicity, and cost vs multiple sequential novel therapies with shorter durations of benefit. Recent data indicate that autologous HCT in follicular lymphoma patients with early initial progression will result in more than one third being alive and without relapse at 5 years, leading to improved OS when used within a year of the first recurrence. Unlike other available therapies, allogeneic HCT has the potential to cure up to one half of those transplanted with indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, although the risks need to be recognized and appropriate patient and donor selection is critical to ensure the best outcomes. HCT continues to remain a viable option in the current era of multiple targeted agents.

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