Total late effect burden in long-term lymphoma survivors after high-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell transplant and its effect on health-related quality of life

Haematologica. 2022 Nov 1;107(11):2698-2707. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2021.280413.


Lymphoma survivors after high-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell transplant (HDT-ASCT) are at risk of several late effects, which might impair their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We assessed the total late effect burden in this population, and how it affects HRQoL. All lymphoma survivors treated with HDT-ASCT as adults in Norway between 1987 and 2008 were identified, and 271 (68%) attended both a comprehensive clinical assessment and completed a questionnaire. Severity of 45 conditions in 12 organ-system categories were graded as mild, moderate, severe or life-threatening, according to a modified version of CTCAEv4.03. At a median of 8 years after HDT-ASCT, 98% of survivors had at least one moderate or more severe late effect and 56% had severe or life-threatening late effects. Fourteen percent had low, 39% medium and 47% high late effect burden, defined as having moderate or more severe late effects in 0-1, 2-3 and >3 organsystems, respectively. Female sex, increasing age, B-symptoms at diagnosis and >1 treatment line prior to HDT-ASCT were independently associated with having high late effect burden. The survivors had significantly poorer physical and mental HRQoL assessed by the Short Form-36 compared to age- and sex-matched controls. The prevalence of poor physical and mental HRQoL increased with higher late effect burden (both P<0.001), and the low burden group had better physical HRQoL than controls (P<0.001). In conclusion, lymphoma survivors after HDT-ASCT have impaired HRQoL, seemingly driven by a high late effect burden. This highlights the importance of prevention, regular assessments for early detection and treatment of late effects and modifiable risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Survivors
  • Transplantation, Autologous