Treatment outcomes for older patients with relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphoma receiving salvage chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation are similar to younger patients: a subgroup analysis from the phase III CCTG LY.12 trial.
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Background: High-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is often considered for older patients (age >60 years) with relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphomas. Although registry data support the safety and potential efficacy of this approach, there are no prospective trials evaluating outcomes of ASCT in older patients. We evaluated the result of second-line chemotherapy and ASCT in older versus younger patients in the CCTG randomized LY.12 trial. Patients and methods: From August 2003 to November 2011, 619 patients with relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphoma were randomized to gemcitabine, dexamethasone, cisplatin (GDP) or dexamethasone, cytarabine, cisplatin (DHAP); 177 patients (28.6%) enrolled were >60.0 years of age (range, 60-74) and 442 were ≤60.0 years of age. After two to three cycles, responding patients proceeded to ASCT. Intention-to-treat analysis was used to compare response rate, transplantation rate, event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) between patients aged ≤60.0 and >60.0 years. Results: Patient characteristics were comparable between the two cohorts, except a larger proportion of older patients had high International Prognostic Index risk scores. Response to salvage therapy was 48.6% for patients aged >60.0 versus 43.0% for those aged ≤60.0 (P = 0.21). Transplantation rates were also similar: 50.3% versus 49.8% (P = 0.87) for older versus younger patients. Rates of febrile neutropenia and adverse events requiring hospitalization were comparable for older and younger patients (30.5% versus 22.9% and 37.9% versus 32.1%, respectively). With a median follow-up of 53 months, there was no difference in 4-year OS (36% and 40% for patients aged >60.0 and ≤60.0 years, P = 0.42), or 4-year EFS (20% versus 28%, P = 0.43). Mortality from salvage therapy was 8/174 (4.60%) and 5/436 (1.15%), and 100-day mortality post-ASCT was 7/88 (8.06%) and 4/219 (1.85%). Conclusion: This subgroup analysis suggests that older patients derive similar benefit from salvage therapy and ASCT to younger patients, with acceptable toxicity. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00078949.
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