Relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2011:2011:498-505. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2011.1.498.


Despite overall improvements in outcomes of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), approximately one-third of patients will develop relapsed/refractory disease that remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Novel insights from gene-expression analyses have increased our understanding of chemotherapy resistance and yielded rational targets for therapeutic intervention to both prevent and treat relapsed/refractory DLBCL. The clinical approach to relapsed/refractory DLBCL should include high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HD-ASCT) with curative intent in patients without comorbidities. Results from the recently reported CORAL study suggest that patients refractory to rituximab-containing regimens have inferior outcomes with HD-ASCT. Ongoing efforts to improve ASCT include novel conditioning regimens and evaluation of maintenance approaches after ASCT. Unfortunately, because the majority of patients are not eligible for ASCT due to refractory disease or age/comorbidities, these approaches have limited impact. The large group of patients not eligible for ASCT have incurable disease and should be referred for clinical trials of rationally targeted agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm* / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm* / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / genetics
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Rituximab
  • Stem Cell Transplantation


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Rituximab