Purpose: The treatment of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with cardiac comorbidity is problematic, because this group may not be able to receive anthracycline-containing chemoimmunotherapy. We designed a single-arm phase II multicenter trial of rituximab, gemcitabine, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisolone (R-GCVP) in patients considered unfit for anthracycline-containing chemoimmunotherapy because of cardiac comorbidity.
Patients and methods: Sixty-one of 62 patients received R-GCVP, administered on day 1 with gemcitabine repeated on day 8 of a 21-day cycle. Median age was 76.5 years. All patients had advanced disease; 27 (43.5%) had left ventricular ejection fraction of ≤ 50%, and 35 (56.5%) had an ejection fraction of > 50% and comorbid cardiac risk factors such as ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or hypertension [Corrected]. Primary end point was overall response rate at the end of treatment.
Results: Thirty-eight patients (61.3%; 95% CI, 49.2 to 73.4) achieved disease response (complete response [CR], n = 18; undocumented/unconfirmed CR, n = 6; partial response, n = 14). Two-year progression-free survival for all patients was 49.8% (95% CI, 37.3 to 62.3), and 2-year overall survival was 55.8% (95% CI, 43.3 to 68.4). Thirty-four patients experienced grade ≥ 3 hematologic toxicity. There were 15 cardiac events, of which seven were grade 1 to 2, five were grade 3 to 4, and three were fatal, reflecting the poor cardiac status of the study population.
Conclusion: Our phase II multicenter trial showed that the R-GCVP regimen is an active, reasonably well-tolerated treatment for patients with DLBCL for whom anthracycline-containing immunochemotherapy was considered unsuitable because of coexisting cardiac disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00971763.