International prognostic indices in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a comparison of IPI, R-IPI, and NCCN-IPI

Blood. 2020 Jun 4;135(23):2041-2048. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019002729.


Great heterogeneity in survival exists for patients newly diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Three scoring systems incorporating simple clinical parameters (age, lactate dehydrogenase, number/sites of involvement, stage, performance status) are widely used: the International Prognostic Index (IPI), revised IPI (R-IPI), and National Comprehensive Cancer Network IPI (NCCN-IPI). We evaluated 2124 DLBCL patients treated from 1998 to 2009 with frontline rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP; or variant) across 7 multicenter randomized clinical trials to determine which scoring system best discriminates overall survival (OS). Median age was 63 years, and 56% of patients were male. Five-year OS estimates ranged from 54% to 88%, from 61% to 93%, and from 49% to 92% using the IPI, R-IPI, and NCCN-IPI, respectively. The NCCN-IPI had the greatest absolute difference in OS estimates between the highest- and lowest-risk groups and best discriminated OS (concordance index = 0.632 vs 0.626 [IPI] vs 0.590 [R-IPI]). For each given IPI risk category, NCCN-IPI risk categories were significantly associated with OS (P ≤ .01); the reverse was not true, and the IPI did not provide additional significant prognostic information within all NCCN-IPI risk categories. Collectively, the NCCN-IPI outperformed the IPI and R-IPI. Patients with low-risk NCCN-IPI had favorable survival outcomes with little room for further improvement. In the rituximab era, none of the clinical risk scores identified a patient subgroup with long-term survival clearly <50%. Integrating molecular features of the tumor and microenvironment into the NCCN-IPI or IPI might better characterize a high-risk group for which novel treatment approaches are most needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Rituximab / administration & dosage
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Rituximab
  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone