Elderly NHL patients have higher NRM after HSCT


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HSCT preparation

A retrospective study suggests elderly patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are more likely to die, but not relapse, within a year of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT).

The rate of non-relapse mortality (NRM) at 1 year was significantly higher for elderly patients than for middle-aged or young patients.

However, the 3-year rate of relapse was similar across the age groups.

Charalampia Kyriakou, MD, PhD, of University College London in the U.K., and her colleagues reported these findings in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

The investigators analyzed 3,919 patients with NHL who underwent allo-HSCT between 2003 and 2013.

The patients had follicular lymphoma (n=1,461), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (n=1,192), mantle cell lymphoma (n=823), and peripheral T-cell lymphoma (n=443).

At the time of transplant, about 85% of patients were chemo-sensitive, with the remainder being chemo-refractory.


The investigators compared outcomes in patients assigned to three age groups—young (18-50), middle-aged (51-65), and elderly (66-77).

NRM at 1 year was 13% for young patients, 20% for middle-aged patients, and 33% for elderly patients (P<0.001).

Overall survival at 3 years was 60% in young patients, 54% in middle-aged patients, and 38% in the elderly (P<0.001).

In contrast to these significant associations between age and survival, the rate of relapse at 3 years remained relatively consistent—30% in young patients, 31% in middle-aged patients, and 28% in elderly patients (P=0.355).

The increased risk of NRM in elderly patients could not be fully explained by comorbidities, although these were more common in the elderly.

After analyzing information from a subset of patients, the investigators concluded that “the presence of comorbidities is a significant risk factor for NRM and survival, but this does not fully explain the outcome disadvantages in our [elderly] group.”

Therefore, age remains an independent risk factor.

The investigators did not report conflicts of interest.

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