Ann Hematol. 2020 Sep 18. doi: 10.1007/s00277-020-04267-0. Online ahead of print.
Although treatment outcomes for diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) have improved with the introduction of rituximab, approximately half of patients experience relapsed/refractory (r/r) disease. Furthermore, no standard salvage therapy has yet been established to date, while limitations in treatment options exist due to toxicity and restricted tolerability among elderly patients and/or those with comorbidities. The ICE (ifosfamide, cyclophosphamide, and etoposide) regimen is often used as
salvage therapy for r/r DLBCL. Several modified ICE regimens not requiring continuous ifosfamide infusion are available, which can be used in outpatient clinics. This study analyzed the efficacy and toxicity of fractionated ICE with rituximab (f-R-ICE) as a salvage regimen among 47 patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL (median age upon f-R-ICE initiation, 71 years). The whole cohort had an overall (ORR) and complete response rate of 53.1% (n = 25) and 25.5% (n = 12), respectively, and an estimated 1-year overall survival after f-R-ICE initiation of 57%. Comorbidities were evaluated using the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) upon f-R-ICE initiation. Patients with low CCI scores (68%) had a higher ORR than those with high CCI scores (36.4%) upon f-R-ICE initiation (P = 0.042). In contrast, no significant differences in overall survival (OS) were observed between the low and high CCI groups (1-year OS 56.6% vs. 52.2%; median OS 24 vs. 22.8 months) after initiating f-R-ICE. Our results suggest that f-R-ICE is a safe and effective salvage therapy for r/r DLBCL and can be used for older patients and/or those with high CCI scores in outpatient clinics.