Acta Haematol. 2020 Oct 9:1-5. doi: 10.1159/000509923. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Treatment of relapsed/refractory (R/R) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) represents a challenge for clinicians due to the lack of therapeutic options. DLBCL is not a rare disease in Italy. Pixantrone is an aza-anthracenedione, which, when compared to anthracyclines and anthracenediones, has a significantly reduced cardiotoxicity while maintaining good anti-tumor activity. However, the evidence on the use of pixantrone in the context of daily clinical practice is scarce.
METHODS: We focused on the Italian patient subset of a larger European retrospective study (the PIXA Registry) to assess the efficacy and safety of pixantrone in a real-life DLBCL population. The molecular profile of the disease and its impact on drug efficacy were also assessed.
RESULTS: Fifteen heavily pretreated DLBCL patients (13 males and 2 females) underwent treatment with pixantrone for a median of 2 cycles (range 1-6). Eight patients were bcl2 positive, 7 bcl6 positive, and 4 myc positive; 4 patients were diagnosed as double-hit, and 2 as triple-hit DLBCL. The overall response rate was 26.7% with a best response rate of 46.7%. Three patients had grade IV adverse events, which caused drug discontinuation. Four patients had 5 cases of grade III toxicities (1 thrombocytopenia, 1 stomatitis, and 3 neutropenia). One mild cardiac toxicity (sinus tachycardia for which no action was required) was possibly related to the study drug.
CONCLUSION: Our data documented drug efficacy that is satisfactory for this high-risk subset of patients with an acceptable toxicity profile. Results indicate that pixantrone could be a significant treatment option in patients with R/R aggressive DLBCL treated in everyday clinical practice.