Conference Coverage

Prognostic factors guide mantle cell treatment decisions



– The treatment options for patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) vary based on age, but several prognostic factors can help guide treatment decision making in all patients, according to Kristie A. Blum, MD.

These include age, disease stage, disease sites, Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (MIPI), biologic factors, and histology, Dr. Blum said during a presentation at the American Society of Hematology Meeting on Hematologic Malignancies.


“I think the most important thing to recognize is there really isn’t any randomized transplant data for patients that are over 65. … There are very few transplant studies for patients [aged] 66-70,” said Dr. Blum, acting professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University in Atlanta.

The SWOG 0213 study did examine rituximab-hyperCVAD (R-HCVAD) in this age group, and showed that it has higher toxicity and lower efficacy in older versus younger patients, she said.

“Of course this is not typically a transplant approach, but an intensive-therapy approach,” she said, noting that progression-free and overall survival in patients aged 66-70 years were just 29% and 57%, respectively (Ann Oncol. 2013 Jun; 24[6]:1587-93).

Dr. Kristie A. Blum of Emory University

Dr. Kristie A. Blum

The CALGB 59909 and 50403 studies of chemoimmunotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT), with or without bortezomib, included only adults up to age 70.

“So while most of us think that transplant is probably okay and safe in patients up to 70, the question is what induction regimen to use,” she said.

Dr. Blum noted that a retrospective study from the Mayo Clinic looked at all 63 patients aged 65 years and older with MCL who underwent ASCT there (including 22 patients over age 70), and most (60%) were treated with R-CHOP. Just 19% received cytarabine-based regimens (Blood. 2017:130:4536).

Median overall survival after ASCT was 5 years, and median relapse-free survival was 3.2 years.


Like age, disease stage in MCL patients has not been well studied, Dr. Blum said.

“Most of the randomized transplant studies have been conducted in patients stage II-IV, so we don’t have a lot of data about the early-stage patients,” she said, adding, however, that there are some retrospective data on radiation therapy for stage I-II MCL in older adults.

An International Lymphoma Radiation Oncology Group study of 179 patients, for example, showed that overall survival was “really the same whether they got chemo, chemo plus radiation, or radiation alone,” she said.

The 10-year freedom from progression was 46%, 43%, and 31%, respectively (P = .64).


“What about where the disease presents? We’ve all heard about indolent mantle cell – so there’s this leukemic ‘non-nodal’ variant that’s been described,” she said, noting that this variant has a chronic lymphocytic leukemia–like presentation (no nodal disease, blood and marrow involvement, and splenic involvement). “And they tend to be SOX11-negative with mutated [immunoglobulin variable region heavy chain gene].”

Another variant involves primarily nodal disease that typically presents without elevated white blood cell count, with low Ki-67 (10% or lower), with SOX11 positivity, and without TP53 mutations.

“But I would caution you that this is really not very well defined; there’s no clear marker that predicts for indolent disease,” Dr. Blum said. “If you have one of these patients and you’re thinking about observing them, my experience has been that the most important thing to do is make sure you look at their [gastrointestinal] tract. I’ve had a lot of these patients progress with colon masses over time.”


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