Impact of prior treatment on outcome of transformed follicular lymphoma and relapsed de novo diffuse large B cell lymphoma: a retrospective multicentre analysis


  • K. Lerch
  • A.H. Meyer
  • A. Stroux
  • C. Hirt
  • U. Keller
  • A. Viardot
  • R. Marks
  • S. Schreiber
  • A. Pezzutto
  • C.W. Scholz


  • Annals of Hematology


  • Ann Hematol 94 (6): 981-988


  • Transformation of follicular lymphoma (FL) into aggressive disease and relapse of de novo diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are considered highly unfavourable events. However, most published data were acquired when rituximab was not routinely used. We retrospectively analysed 50 patients with transformed FL (tFL) in a multicenter study and compared them to 50 individuals with relapsed DLBCL (rDLBCL) who all obtained rituximab for the treatment of their disease. Our goal was to identify factors that predict a more favourable prognosis. After a median follow-up of 5.4 years from diagnosis, there was no significant difference in median overall survival (OS) from the date of transformation (tFL) or date of the first relapse (rDLBCL) (1.9 versus 3.9 years, P = .542). Of note, 5-year OS of patients with tFL was 46 %. Follicular lymphoma patients, treatment naïve prior to transformation, fared significantly better than pretreated patients (median not reached versus 1.4 years, P = .014). Regarding rDLBCL, female gender (13.9 versus 1.8 years, P = .019) and absence of rituximab prior to the first relapse (14.0 versus 1.8 years, P = .035) were favourable prognostic factors in a uni- and multivariate analysis. Only a proportion of patients received high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (HDT-ASCT), i.e. 38 and 52 % of patients with tFL and rDLBCL, respectively. Our data indicate that a favourable prognosis is conferred by treatment naivety in tFL and by rituximab naivety in rDLBCL. In contrast, we did not find a prognostic impact of HDT-ASCT in our series.