Excellent outcomes of transformed lymphomas in the rituximab era without autologous stem cell transplantation: an Australian single-centre experience

Aditya Tedjaseputra, Michael Gilbertson, Michael Low, Pasquale L. Fedele, Beena Kumar, Ian Simpson, George Grigoriadis, Jake Shortt, Stephen Opat, Gareth P. Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Histologic transformation (HT) is an important event with adverse prognosis in the natural history of indolent lymphomas. There are minimal data on HT in the Australian setting. Aims: To characterise patients with biopsy-proven HT and their outcomes identified at a tertiary Australian Hospital. Methods: All patients with biopsy-proven HT during a 15-year period (2002–2017) were included. Clinico-pathological data were systematically collected from review of patient records. Survival estimates were assessed using the Kaplan–Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Associations between variables and clinical outcomes were evaluated using Cox's proportional hazards model. Results: A cohort of 45 patients was identified with a median age of 66 years and the majority (59%) having high-risk disease (Revised-International Prognostic Index score ≥3). R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone) induction was used in 69%, with an overall response rate of 82% (complete response (CR), 75%). Sixty-one percent of these induction responders received consolidation, with autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) performed in only 17% and rituximab maintenance given to 31%. With a median follow up of 47 months (range: 4–136), the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 69% (95% CI: 52%, 81%). Chemotherapy-naivety at HT was associated with a superior rate of CR (84% vs 54%, P = 0.057) and 5-year OS (82% vs 46%, P = 0.012). Rituximab maintenance was associated with a durable progression-free survival in induction responders. Conclusions: Excellent OS was observed in this modern cohort of patients treated with rituximab-containing induction and low rate of consolidation by ASCT, particularly in those who were chemotherapy-naïve at HT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1834
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • histologic transformation
  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • rituximab
  • transformed lymphoma

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