High total metabolic tumor volume at baseline predicts survival independent of response to therapy

Blood. 2020 Apr 16;135(16):1396-1405. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019003526.


Early identification of ultra-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients is needed to aid stratification to innovative treatment. Previous studies suggested high baseline total metabolic tumor volume (TMTV) negatively impacts survival of DLBCL patients. We analyzed the prognostic impact of TMTV and prognostic indices in DLBCL patients, aged 60 to 80 years, from the phase 3 REMARC study that randomized responding patients to R-CHOP (rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) into maintenance lenalidomide or placebo. TMTV was computed on baseline positron emission tomography/computed tomography using the 41% maximum standardized uptake value method; the optimal TMTV cutoff for progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was determined and confirmed by a training validation method. There were 301 out of 650 evaluable patients, including 192 patients classified as germinal center B-cell-like (GCB)/non-GCB and MYC/BCL2 expressor. Median baseline TMTV was 238 cm3; optimal TMTV cutoff was 220 cm3. Patients with high vs low TMTV showed worse/higher Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) ≥2, stage III or IV disease, >1 extranodal site, elevated lactate dehydrogenase, International Prognostic Index (IPI) 3-5, and age-adjusted IPI 2-3. High vs low TMTV significantly impacted PFS and OS, independent of maintenance treatment. Although the GCB/non-GCB profile and MYC expression did not correlate with TMTV/survival, BCL2 >70% impacted PFS and could be stratified by TMTV. Multivariate analysis identified baseline TMTV and ECOG PS as independently associated with PFS and OS. Even in responding patients, after R-CHOP, high baseline TMTV was a strong prognosticator of inferior PFS and OS. Moreover, TMTV combined with ECOG PS may identify an ultra-risk DLBCL population. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01122472.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lenalidomide / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Rituximab / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects*
  • Vincristine / therapeutic use


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • R-CHOP protocol
  • Rituximab
  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Lenalidomide
  • Prednisone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01122472