Autotransplants for histologically transformed follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Christine I. Chen, Michael Crump, Richard Tsang, A. Keith Stewart, Armand Keating

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72 Scopus citations


Histological transformation from a follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) to a higher grade lymphoma carries a poor prognosis despite treatment with aggressive anthracycline-based chemotherapy. We retrospectively analysed 35 patients with histologically transformed NHL who underwent high-dose therapy and autotransplantation at our centre. Patients up to 65 years old were eligible for autotransplant at the time of transformation or with subsequent relapses, provided that chemosensitivity to a salvage regimen could be demonstrated. All patients received high-dose therapy [etoposide 60 mg/kg, melphalan 160 mg/m2 and fractionated total body irradiation (TBI) 12 Gy] followed by unpurged autologous bone marrow or blood stem cell rescue. Most patients (69%) had advanced stage disease (stages 3-4) at transformation and bone marrow involvement was common (49%). Twenty-six (74%) patients were in partial remission (PR) and nine (26%) in complete remission (CR) at the time of transplant. Median duration from transformation to transplant was 10.9 months (range, 5.2 months-4.6 years). At a median follow up of 52 months after autotransplant, 19 (54%) patients had died. Causes of death were progressive lymphoma in nine patients (26%), treatment-related mortality (TRM) in seven (20%) and myelodysplasia in three (8%). Only five patients in our cohort were > 60 years old, but all died as a result of treatment-related causes (mostly pulmonary infections). Five-year overall survival and progression-free survival from time of transplant were 37% and 36% respectively. Using multivariate analysis of factors including gender, age, stage, extranodal disease, disease bulk, B symptoms, number of prior therapies, relapse status and CR/PR status at transplant, only advanced age significantly predicted for survival from autotransplant (P = 0.002). Our survival data are comparable to previous reports of autotransplantation for transformed NHL and suggest a benefit over standard chemotherapy alone in selected patients. However, our high TRM cautions the use of aggressive therapy, including TBI, in patients over 60 years old.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of haematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Autotransplant
  • Follicular
  • Lymphoma
  • Therapy
  • Transformed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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