Purpose: To analyze the long-term outcome of patients included in the Lymphome Non Hodgkinien study 98-5 (LNH98-5) comparing cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) to rituximab plus CHOP (R-CHOP) in elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Patients and methods: LNH98-5 was a randomized study that included 399 previously untreated patients, age 60 to 80 years, with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Patients received eight cycles of classical CHOP (cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m(2), doxorubicin 50 mg/m(2), vincristine 1.4 mg/m(2), and prednisone 40 mg/m(2) for 5 days) every 3 weeks. In R-CHOP, rituximab 375 mg/m(2) was administered the same day as CHOP. Survivals were analyzed using the intent-to-treat principle.
Results: Median follow-up is 5 years at present. Event-free survival, progression-free survival, disease-free survival, and overall survival remain statistically significant in favor of the combination of R-CHOP (P = .00002, P < .00001, P < .00031, and P < .0073, respectively, in the log-rank test). Patients with low-risk or high-risk lymphoma according to the age-adjusted International Prognostic Index have longer survivals if treated with the combination. No long-term toxicity appeared to be associated with the R-CHOP combination.
Conclusion: Using the combination of R-CHOP leads to significant improvement of the outcome of elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, with significant survival benefit maintained during a 5-year follow-up. This combination should become the standard for treating these patients.