Management of elderly patients with malignant lymphoma

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2022 Jul 8;52(7):690-699. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyac056.


More than half of patients with malignant lymphoma are 65 years old or older. The outcome for older patients is poorer than that for younger patients. A poor prognosis is associated with heterogeneity and consists of physical function, performance status, poor nutritional status and various comorbidities. Therefore, attention should be given to serious treatment-related toxicities. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most frequently diagnosed type of malignant lymphoma. Most patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma can be potentially cured with the current standard chemotherapeutic regimen of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone. However, a reduced-dose regimen of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone or alternative treatment options might be suitable for older patients who are frail or unfit and have cardiac comorbidities. A comprehensive geriatric assessment is a potential tool for determining an appropriate therapeutic approach for each older patient. Follicular lymphoma is the second most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the disease course is usually characterized by an indolent clinical course. Advanced follicular lymphoma with a high tumor burden has historically been treated with chemoimmunotherapy, but the treatment goal for older patients is relief of symptoms. Incorporating novel targeted agents such as brentuximab vedotin into therapies for older Hodgkin lymphoma patients might be a promising alternative to the anthracycline-containing regimen.

Keywords: classic Hodgkin lymphoma; comprehensive functional assessment; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; follicular lymphoma; older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived* / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / adverse effects
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Follicular* / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Rituximab / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vincristine / therapeutic use


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Rituximab
  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone