Patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) that fail induction treatment represent a difficult-to-treat population, where no standard therapy exists. We evaluated outcomes in patients with first relapsed-refractory (r/r) MCL after upfront high dose cytarabine including standard regimens. Overall survival (OS-2) and progression-free survival (PFS-2) were estimated from the time of salvage therapy. The previously described threshold of 24 months was used to define patients as early- or late-progressors (POD). Overall, 261 r/r MCL patients were included. Second-line regimens consisted of rituximab-bendamustine (R-B, 21%), R-B and cytarabine (R-BAC, 29%), ibrutinib (19%), and others (31%). The four groups were balanced in terms of clinicopathological features. Adjusting for age and early/late-POD, patients treated with R-BAC had significantly higher complete remission (63%) than comparators. Overall, Ibrutinib and R-BAC were associated with improved median PFS-2 [24 and 25 months, respectively], compared to R-B (13) or others (7). In patients with early-POD (n = 127), ibrutinib was associated with inferior risk of death than comparators (HR 2.41 for R-B, 2.17 for others, 2.78 for R-BAC). In patients with late-POD (n = 134), no significant differences were observed between ibrutinib and bendamustine-based treatments. Ibrutinib was associated with improved outcome in early-POD patients.