High-dose extended-field radiotherapy plus chemotherapy improved survival in extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma in a real-life setting: results from the multicenter T-Cell Brazil Project

Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 29;12(1):20557. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-25034-3.


Extranodal natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma (ENKTL) is a rare and aggressive Epstein-Barr virus related mature T-cell and natural-killer malignancy. Although highly prevalent in South America, few studies covering data from this geographic location have been published. Therefore, this study aims to report clinical characteristics, prognostic factors, and outcomes in a multicenter cohort of ENKTL patients from Brazil. This retrospective, observational and multicenter study included 98 ENKTL patients treated during two decades in Brazil. Data were extracted from the T-Cell Brazil Project database. In our cohort, 59/98 patients (60.2%) were male, with a median age of 50 years. Sixty-two patients (63.3%) had B-symptoms, 26/98 (26.5%) had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale ≥ 2; 16/98 (16.3%) presented extranasal disease and 34.7% (34/98) were advanced-stage (Ann Arbor/Cotswolds III/IV). The median follow-up for the whole cohort was 49 months, with an estimated 2-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) of 51.1% and 17.7%, respectively. In early-stage disease (IE/IIE), the median OS was 21.8 months for patients treated with concurrent radiotherapy plus chemotherapy (CCRT-VIPD [etoposide/vp-16, ifosfamide, cisplatin and dexamethasone), 16.2 months for sequential chemoradiotherapy (SCRT) followed by asparaginase-based regimens, and 56.7 months for SCRT followed by CHOP-like (cyclophosphamide, doxorrubicin, vincristine and prednisone) treatments, p = 0.211. CCRT was associated with higher rates of early-mortality, hematological toxicity, and mucositis. Median OS was 8.2 months for patients with advanced-stage disease receiving regimens containing asparaginase compared to 3.2 months for anthracycline-based therapy, p = 0.851. Chemo-radiotherapy (CRT) regimens demonstrated better OS (p = 0.001) and PFS (p = 0.007) than chemotherapy alone. Multivariate analysis revealed anemia, relapsed/refractory (R/R) disease and radiotherapy omission as poor outcome predictors for OS. Lymphopenia and radiotherapy omission adversely affected PFS. Concerning progression of disease within 24-months (POD-24), clinical stage III/IV was a poor outcome predictor. In this real-life Brazilian cohort, ENKTL presented dismal outcomes. Radiation therapy was an independent factor for increased OS and PFS, but CCRT regimens were associated with higher toxicities. Polychemotherapy based on anti-multi drug resistant agents was not associated with survival benefit in either early or advanced-stage disease in our patient cohort.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Asparaginase
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections*
  • Etoposide
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell* / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell* / radiotherapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Asparaginase
  • Etoposide