Low-grade B-cell lymphomas other than follicular and small lymphocytic lymphoma (LGBCL) account for 10% of all B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Despite improvements in survival outcomes for these patients, little is known about cause of death (COD) in the rituximab era. For a better understanding, we studied 822 newly diagnosed patients with marginal zone, lymphoplasmacytic, and unclassifiable low-grade B-cell lymphoma prospectively enrolled in the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Specialized Program of Research Excellence Molecular Epidemiology Resource from 2002 to 2015. COD was assigned based on medical record review using a standard protocol. At a median follow-up of 107 months, 219 (27%) patients had died. The incidence of lymphoma-related deaths when pooling across subtypes was lower than non–lymphoma-related deaths (10-year incidence, 8.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.2-10.4 vs 13.6%; 95% CI: 11.2-16.6). The incidence of lymphoma-related deaths varied by subtype, ranging from 3.7% at 10 years in extranodal marginal zone lymphoma to 19.3% in lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Patients with early progression or retreatment events, defined using event-free survival at 24 months from diagnosis, had significantly higher likelihood of lymphoma-related death compared with patients without early events (10-year estimate: 19.1% vs 5.1%, respectively; P, .001), whereas the rates for non–lymphoma-related death were comparable in patients with or without early events (10-year estimates: 11.0% vs 15.3%, respectively). In conclusion, the most common COD in LGBCLs in the first decade after diagnosis was for causes other than lymphoma. Progression or retreatment within the first 2 years of diagnosis was a strong predictor for risk of lymphoma-related death.
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