Response and survival benefit with chemoimmunotherapy in Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Hematol Oncol. 2018 Feb;36(1):93-97. doi: 10.1002/hon.2449. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a haematologic malignancy with poor prognosis when treated with chemotherapy. We evaluated response and survival benefits of chemoimmunotherapy in EBV-positive DLBCL patients. A total of 117 DLBCL patients were included in our retrospective analysis; 33 were EBV-positive (17 treated with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone [R-CHOP] and 16 with CHOP), and 84 were EBV-negative (all treated with R-CHOP). The outcomes of interest were complete response (CR) and overall survival (OS) in EBV-positive DLBCL patients (R-CHOP versus CHOP) and in DLBCL patients treated with R-CHOP (EBV-positive vs EBV-negative). There were no differences in the clinical characteristics between EBV-positive and EBV-negative DLBCL patients. Among EBV-positive DLBCL patients, R-CHOP was associated with higher odds of CR (OR 3.14, 95% CI 0.75-13.2; P = .10) and better OS (hazard ratio 0.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.09-0.94; P = .04). There were no differences in CR rate (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.18-1.56; P = .25) or OS (hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.32-2.67; P = .89) between EBV-positive and EBV-negative DLBCL patients treated with R-CHOP. Based on our study, the addition of rituximab to CHOP is associated with improved response and survival in EBV-positive DLBCL patients. Epstein-Barr virus status does not seem to affect response or survival in DLBCL patients treated with R-CHOP.

Keywords: DLBCL; EBV; Epstein-Barr virus; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; rituximab.

MeSH terms

  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / mortality
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis