Blood Adv. 2020 Aug 11;4(15):3486-3494. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002068.
Rituximab-containing chemotherapy regimens constitute standard first-line therapy for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Since June 2013, 190 patients ≥18 years of age with MCL in British Columbia have been treated with bendamustine and rituximab (BR). The overall response rate to BR was 88% (54% complete response). Of these, 61 of 89 patients (69%) aged ≤65 years received autologous stem cell transplantation and 141 of 190 patients (74%) from the entire cohort received maintenance rituximab.
Twenty-three patients (12%) had progressive disease, associated with high risk per the Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (MIPI), Ki-67 ≥50%, and blastoid/pleomorphic histology. Outcomes were compared with a historical cohort of 248 patients treated with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP; January 2003 to May 2013). Treatment with BR was associated with significant improvements in progression-free survival (PFS), but not overall survival (OS), compared with R-CHOP in the whole cohort (3-year PFS, 66% BR vs 51% R-CHOP, P = .003; 3-year OS, 73% BR vs 66% R-CHOP, P = .054) and in those >65 years of age (3-year PFS, 56% BR vs 35% R-CHOP, P = .001; 3-year OS, 64% BR vs 55% R-CHOP, P = .063). Outcomes in transplanted patients were not statistically significantly different compared with R-CHOP (3-year PFS, 85% BR vs 76% R-CHOP, P = .135; 3-year OS, 90% BR vs 88% R-CHOP, P = .305), although in multivariate analyses, treatment with BR was associated with improved PFS (hazard ratio, 0.40 [95% confidence interval, 0.17-0.94]; P = .036) but not OS. BR is an effective first-line option for most patients with MCL, however, outcomes are suboptimal for those with high-risk features and further studies integrating novel agents are warranted.