Objectives: Primary gastric low-grade B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue may regress with conservative treatment such as anti-Helicobacterpylori therapy or monochemotherapy. The aims of the present study were to analyze the predictive factors of response to anti-H. pylori treatment, to assess the effects of an adjuvant therapy in responding patients, and to evaluate an alternative therapy in nonresponding patients.
Methods: From 1995 to 2000, 48 H. pylori-infected patients with localized primary gastric low-grade B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue were treated with anti-H. pylori therapy. Endoscopic and endoscopic ultrasonography features and histological grading of large cells' proportion were analyzed. Eradication of H. pylori and tumoral response were assessed at 2 and 6 months, respectively. From 1996, patients in remission at 6 months were randomized to receive either chlorambucil p.o. for 6 months or no treatment. Patients who did not respond to H. pylori eradication received chlorambucil p.o. for 1 yr.
Results: Among the 48 treated patients, 33 (69%) were in complete (n = 28) or in partial (n = 5) remission, and 15 (31%) were in treatment failure at 6 months. H. pylori was eradicated in 47 patients. The response was not correlated with the endoscopic features or with the histological grade. In contrast, it was related to ultrasonographic features: remission was achieved in 76% of patients when no perigastric lymph node was detected versus only 33% when endoscopic ultrasonography showed presence of lymph nodes (p = 0.025). All responding patients remained in remission (median 34 months) whatever the treatment they received (no treatment or chlorambucil). Remission could be achieved with chlorambucil in 58% of the nonresponding patients to anti-H. pylori treatment.
Conclusions: The major negative predictive factor of the tumoral response to anti-H. pylori treatment in patients with primary gastric low-grade B-cell lymphoma of mucosaassociated lymphoid tissue was the presence of perigastric lymph nodes on endoscopic ultrasonography. In responding patients, remission remained stable, suggesting that adjuvant chemotherapy was not useful. In patients who failed to respond to H. pylori eradication, monochemotherapy with chlorambucil proved to be efficient, but new therapeutic modalities should be evaluated to improve the control of the tumoral process.