Benefit of axicabtagene ciloleucel versus chemoimmunotherapy in older patients and/or patients with poor ECOG performance status with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after 2 or more lines of prior therapy

Am J Hematol. 2024 May;99(5):880-889. doi: 10.1002/ajh.27283. Epub 2024 Mar 19.


Axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) in trials has demonstrated favorable efficacy compared with historical controls after ≥2 lines of therapy for the treatment of relapsed or refractory (R/R) large B cell lymphoma (LBCL). Herein, we compared the real-world effectiveness of axi-cel with efficacy and effectiveness of chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) in patients aged ≥65 years and patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) of 2. A total of 1146 patients treated with commercial axi-cel for R/R LBCL with ≥2 lines of prior therapy were included from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation Research prospective observational study, and 469 patients treated with CIT for R/R LBCL after ≥2 lines of prior therapy were included from SCHOLAR-1 (an international, multicohort, retrospective study). After propensity score matching, at a median follow-up of 24 months for patients receiving axi-cel and 60 months for patients receiving CIT, 12-month overall survival rates were 62% and 28%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.30 [95% CI, 0.24-0.37]). Objective response rate (ORR) was 76% (complete response [CR] rate 58%) in patients receiving axi-cel versus 28% (CR rate 16%) for those receiving CIT. A 57% difference in ORR (55% difference in CR rate) favoring axi-cel over CIT was observed among patients aged ≥65 years. Increased magnitude of benefit in response rates for axi-cel versus CIT was also observed among patients with ECOG PS = 2. These findings further support the broader use of axi-cel in older patients and patients with ECOG PS = 2 with R/R LBCL.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD19
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Pathologic Complete Response
  • Retrospective Studies


  • axicabtagene ciloleucel
  • Biological Products
  • Antigens, CD19